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Navy Radar Trades at the Ship Interface

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The next generation radar suite will include a radar that has sensitivity far greater than shipboard radars in use today. Most likely the radar will be a multi‐faced, solid state, phased array system with each array consisting of thousands of individual radiating elements powered by transmit/receive (T/R) modules. It will likely need to be large, and the demands it makes on ship services will be unprecedented. Its electrical power demands could be larger than the total ship's load for present‐day ships. Array size could significantly impact topside design. This paper examines top‐level radar system design choices and illustrates the trends in the ship impact of those choices. Radar design options considered are aperture size and shape, coolant operating temperature, number of array faces, and power system architecture. These design options have an effect on the radar system's weight, footprint, power demand, and cooling load. The effects on ship design can be significant. The ship impact analyses consider a radar system that includes ship‐provided equipment such as electrical power distribution equipment and chill water plants. An analysis of radar systems, all with the same performance, shows that radar system power demand can change by as much as four megawatts for a notional surface combatant depending upon the radar designer's configuration choices. Radar system weight can vary by more than 100 metric tons. There is a cubic relationship between T/R module power and array face area for a constant sensitivity radar system. This relationship is examined to show that there is often a choice of T/R module power that minimizes radar ship impact. The exact choice of T/R module power depends upon the customer's preferences, the manufacturer's capabilities, and choice of vendors. This paper does not convey any official US government position or US Navy endorsement of any particular radar architecture or design approach.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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  • The Naval Engineers Journal is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE). ASNE is the leading professional engineering society for engineers, scientists and allied professionals who conceive, design, develop, test, construct, outfit, operate and maintain complex naval and maritime ships, submarines and aircraft and their associated systems and subsystems.
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