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U.S. Navy Developing Common Radar for Surface Ships

USS Kidd (U.S. Navy)

(U.S. Navy)

The U.S. Navy is developing a new common radar architecture for surface ships, which it hopes will provide modern capabilities using commercially-available technologies. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) says the Affordable Common Radar Architecture is designed to replace multiple legacy systems with an open design that encourages more competition among industry providers.

The goal of the new architecture is to overcome what the Navy calls the obsolescence of its surveillance systems. Many of the current systems were designed and built more than 40 years ago, which makes them difficult to upgrade with new software or meet modern networking requirements.

The five year program calls for a new model radar technology that can be fielded either as a rotating or fixed-array radar, depending on the needs of the ship. ONR had previously developed a digital array radar concept for air and missile defense based on loosely-coupled modules that can take advantage of commercial technologies. The new radar architecture for surface ships, says ONR, builds on that experience.

The new design divides the single antenna unit that both transmits and receives signals into two units: a full-size receiver array and a reduced-size transmitter. ONR says this new design should lower the cost of the overall system by reducing integration problems and maximizing the use of digital technologies.

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