India's AESA radar development

It is no longer a secret when it comes to India developing a AESA(Active Electronic Scanning Array) radar, though many countries are offering their expertise in this field to India to develop the radar on its own, so, that they can win the MMRCA bid, India has always rejected the idea as it is developing it's own since the 90's which was kept like a secret until the patent was made for the T/R(ATransmitter/Receiver) module for the AESA radar which shows that steady progress has been made by India in this field so that they can fill the void by placing it on its home grown LCA project.
Infact work on the necessary transmit/receive modules was done back in 1998 itself as revealed by Dr. Harinarayana (the father of the LCA programme) in a interview. India is working on this AESA technology to develop an AESA radar for the LCA (which presently will only have the MMR which is a PD radar), India is also developing a new AESA radar ( link ) with a range of 300 km for its indigenous AWACS aircraft, that will be mounted on the Embraer ERJ-145. It is to be deployed by 2011 here is a good picture of it notice that the radar is not like the rotating type deployed by other countries and the flying aircraft is from embraer from brazil.
The new AEWACS' mission avionics and sensors will be integrated via a dual MIL-STD 1533 B digital databus, with software programmes providing tactical aids, cues and alerts. The mission system will provide automatic radar control, automatic detection and track initiation, reduced false alarms, improved track continuity, sensor and databus fusion and modern communications management. It will also provide adaptive tracking performance, fast track update rate, reliable local situation display and computer-assisted decisions.

The LRDE-developed roof-mounted radar will be an active phased-array, pulse compression, Doppler radar operating in the S-band. The fixed antenna, with extremely low sidelobe levels, will comprise 200 transmitter/receiver modules mounted on top of the aircraft's fuselage. The best range performance will be achieved in a 150 degree sector sideways, with the performance reduced in forward and aft directions outside of this sector. The instrumented range will be 243nm and the typical detection range for a combat aircraft-sized contact will be 190nm. The radar's electronically scanning beam will be controlled by an automatic and intelligent energy management system which will optimise the beam position and compared to conventional, rotodome solutions, will provide quicker detection verification, increased tracking range, and improved tracking performance even for highly manoeuvring targets.

Work on the ASP's Technology Demonstrator (TD) began in earnest and the first flight of the TD, an Avro HS-748 twin-turboprop aircraft equipped with a rotodome fabricated by BAE Systems, took place in November 1991 at the ASTE's Bangalore facility. By 1994, the LRDE and state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) had completed development and fabrication of the ASP's radar and related electronics and a fresh round of technology evaluation and flight testing got underway, following a funding of Rs 250 million from the DRDO. By mid-1996, work on most aspects of the AWACS project had been completed, and the LRDE radar demonstrated an effective range of 300km when called upon to detect a low-flying target cruising at Mach 1.5 speed. However, the sole ASP TD perished in a fatal crash at Arrakonam near Chennai in January 1999, killing eight personnel, and the ASWAC project was consequently put on hold.

Within two months of signing the $1.1-billion Phalcon Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems contract, India is looking to revive its own $400-million AWACS project.

To be called the Mini-AWACS system, the project harkens back to the indigenous airborne surveillance platform (ASP) effort shelved by India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in 1999 after a modified Avro HS-748 crashed, killing four scientists and four air force officers on board. The accident was blamed on a rotodome that blew off, indicating a failure in the modification process.

However, this time DRDO is expected to mount the Mini-AWACS' phased-array radar on an in-production executive jet, according to K.U. Limaye, director of the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment and head of CABS. An experimental radar is already in testing, he added in a interview.


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