2011 R&D 100 Winner
Many of the radar systems used by federal agencies are nearing the end of their design life. A multifunction phased-array radar (MPAR) system has been proposed as the next-generation solution to provide both weather and primary aircraft surveillance—a functionality that no current radar can satisfy.
The Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) Panel, jointly developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, Mass., and M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc., Lowell, Mass., demonstrates the fundamental building block of a scalable MPAR system with no moving parts. Each panel has 64 antenna elements, each with a separate radiator and transmit-receive module that amplifies the radar signal and controls the phase of the signal relative to the other elements of the panel. The active phase and amplitude control at the element level of an array provides the ability to electronically steer the direction of radar signals transmitted from and received by the aperture. A beam forming network coherently distributes the signals to individual elements during transmit mode and coherently combines the energy during receive mode. To operate the panels as a phased-array radar, a set of about 300 panels are integrated into a planar configuration to form a single radar antenna face.
The unique beam agility of MPAR permits an increased resolution and faster full volume scan rates, thus enabling one radar unit to perform multiple weather and atmospheric surveillance tasks.
|(Front row. l-r): Dan Curcio, Chris Weigand, Sean Duffy, Sean Tobin; (Back row, l-r): David Conway, Mark Weber, Jeff Herd, Glenn Brigham.|
The Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) Panel Development Team
Jeffrey S. Herd, Principal Developer, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Glenn Brigham, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Douglas Carlson, M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc.
John Cho, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
David Conway, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Daniel Curcio, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Sean Duffy, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Sean Tobin, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Mark Weber, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Christopher Weigand, MIT Lincoln Laboratory