GaN-based AESA radar technology touted
At Aero India 2017, Saab expressed that is offers a fighter sensor package for the Indian TEJAS LCA Mk1A fighter aircraft, constisting of a state-of-the-art Saab AESA fighter radar closely integrated with a compact electronic warfare suite using Gallium Nitride (GaN) based Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology.
Saab, in partnership with Indian industry, offers a solution that will bring the required AESA fighter radar and electronic warfare (EW) capability to India and the Indian Air Force. Thanks to the company’s extensive technology development, Saab can offer the latest technology, on time for the LCA Mk 1A needs, at low risk.
The AESA fighter radar is developed by Saab with antenna technology based on the latest technologies using GaN and Silicone Carbide (SiC) substrates in combination with the latest generation of exciter/receiver and processor technology, giving, according to the cmpany, optimum installed performance in a dense signal environment.
The radar has a complete mode suite which includes air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea capabilities. A built-in memory provides a tool to record a large amount of data from performed flights. Integration in the LCA Mk1A fighter aircraft is enabled by the limited space, power and cooling required.
The EW suite consists of sensors and transmitters developed by Saab and is a highly capable and extremely compact solution that provides essential situational awareness and self-protection. The heart of the suite is an EW receiver, which is connected to a front end receiver and fin tip antennas inside the aircraft. Included is also an external AESA jammer pod. The radar warning system is based on ultra-wideband digital receivers and has very high probability of intercept, very good sensitivity and very high selectivity for handling the complex signal environment of today.
The AESA jammer pod is small in size, low on weight and drag. Self-protection is based on Wideband Digital RF Memory (DRFM) that provides advanced jamming techniques and arbitrary combination of jamming waveforms. Transmission is performed by using GaN-based AESA radars. The EW suite also includes ground support systems and recording capability for advanced mission planning and post flight analysis.
Saab’s solutions are based on the latest state-of-the-art technologies and COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) available. The AESA fighter radar and electronic warfare units have no ITAR (Internationally Traffic in Arms Regulations) -restricted components, due to the high degree of Saab in-house developed and manufactured building blocks. Using contemporary technology provides the adaptability and growth potential needed to stay ahead. Technologies are re-used between variants and platforms in order to minimise Life Cycle Cost (LCC).
“In our partnership, the transfer of technology will secure an indigenous Indian capability for series production, maintenance, repair and overhaul capability,” Anders Carp, head of Saab business area Surveillance, explained. “Testing and development of the fighter sensor package will have synergies with the systems developed for GRIPEN. Saab is a world leading company in the sensor area and has equipped some 4500 fighter aircraft with radar and electronic warfare systems. This has given us wide experience of successful sensor system integration, testing, and evaluation of radar and EW systems on fighter aircraft.”