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Radiant Radar

Thales Outline Specifications for Radar Proposed for TEJAS Mk.1A

Thales has told MONS that it will utilise a significant quantity of the technology that the firm has developed for its RBE-2 X-band (8.5 gigahertz/GHz to 10.68GHz) airborne radar which equips the Dassault-F3B/C/M fighter, for the radar it is proposing to equip the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) TEJAS (‘Radiant’) Mk.1A Light Combat Aircraft.

On 16 October, the firm announced that it was offering an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to equip 80 of the aircraft which HAL is building for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

A spokesperson told MONS that, “our proposal is based on a version of the RBE-2 AESA adapted to the specific features of the TEJAS Mk.1A. This concerns aspects related to its compact format, weight and power consumption, as well as operational requirements stipulated by HAL.”

Technologies taken from the RBE-2 to equip the as-yet-to-be-named proposed TEJAS Mk.1A radar include the RBE-2’s solid state architecture and its air-to-air and air-to-surface operating modes; the spokesperson continued.

That said, the company continued that the Tejas Mk.1A radar will include some additional modes including an Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) function. ISAR is the process by which the movement of the target, as opposed to the platform carrying the radar, is used to create the radar’s synthetic aperture. Put simply, the SAR process uses the motion of the platform, or the target, to create an artificially large radar antenna to provide highly detailed two or three dimensional images of a target. Moreover, the spokesperson continued, the IAF has a requirement for the radar to perform air-to-surface ranging.

Although neither the IAF nor HAL has announced when it might make the decision on the procurement of a radar to equip these new TEJAS Mk.1A aircraft, sources inform MONS that HAL would like any new radar qualified on the aircraft within the next 30 months. So far, the Thales spokesperson states, three flight tests of the new prototype radar have been performed at Cazaux airbase in southwest France during July and August, which ascertained the meteorological performance of the radar; all of which were judged to have been a success. The company now expects to present these results to HAL, with Thales expected to perform radar flight tests onboard a TEJAS Mk.1A over the next two years.

Tom Withington


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