Saab Flies New GaN Fighter Radar | World Defense

Saab Flies New GaN Fighter Radar

AliYusuf

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Saab Flies New GaN Fighter Radar
by David Donald
- April 24, 2020, 11:08 AM

Saab AESA radar
Saab’s new AESA array, seen here installed in JAS 39D “800”, has just under 1,000 gallium nitride transmit/receive modules. (Photo: Saab)

Saab has flown its active electronically scanned array (AESA) X-band radar in a Gripen fighter for the first time, the company announced on April 24. The flight took place at Saab’s Linköping airfield on April 8. During the 90-minute sortie undertaken by a JAS 39D trials aircraft (serial 800), the radar was successfully tested against aerial targets of opportunity and a range of ground targets. Speaking to AIN, Anders Carp, senior vice president and head of Saab's Surveillance business area, noted that the radar demonstrated good capability and stability throughout the test mission.

“This is an important step in the development of our new fighter AESA radar,” said Carp in a company statement. “We see great possibilities for the radar, and its modular, adaptable and scalable design means it can also be used for a range of other applications.”
Under current plans, Saab expects to continue initial radar trials for around three to four months, with Gripen 800 due to fly around 15 times with the new sensor. As part of the evaluation, the radar will be employed against fighter targets.

Saab has been at the forefront of AESA radar design employing gallium nitride (GaN) technology, having pioneered the technology with its latest iterations of the Giraffe ground- and sea-based radars, electronic warfare equipment, and with the Erieye ER S-band radar employed in the GlobalEye surveillance aircraft.

The new AESA array is made up of hundreds of transmit/receive modules (TRMs), each one essentially a mini-electronically scanned radar. Radars made with GaN semiconductors have better performance—notably in terms of electronic counter-countermeasures, small target detection and wider bandwidth—than most current AESA sensors that employ gallium arsenide (GaAs) TRMs, while consuming less power and generating less heat.

What is currently known simply as the “Saab AESA fighter radar” comprises the GaN array married to the back end of the PS-05/A Mk 4 mechanically-scanned radar that is the current option for the Gripen C/D. Saab has built virtually all of the elements of the radar itself, including the TRMs that are manufactured in a foundry at the company’s primary radar design and production facility, the former Ericsson plant in Gothenburg. The company began ground-testing of the array well over a year ago.

In the Gripen installation, the array is fixed with Saab opting for this configuration due to its simplicity and reliability. The concept of using a repositioner was initially discarded as advanced digital processing can overcome most of the problems associated with radar performance at the outer edges of the scanning volume without adding the internal space required to accommodate a repositioning system. However, Carp commented that a repositioning system could be employed if trials showed that it was necessary.

The array is essentially the same as that which was ordered in late September 2018 for what Saab describes as an "undisclosed U.S. government customer". At the same time, however, the Pentagon announced the award of an $8.2 million contract to Saab USA for the research and development of an "active aperture array". The contracting agency was Naval Air Systems Command, with the array being intended for the Office of Naval Research and Office of the Secretary of Defense Foreign Comparative Testing Program. Saab has already flight-tested this array on another testbed in support of the U.S. program and delivered it to the customer earlier this year.

Saab claims that its new ITAR-free array is ready to go to market, and would take between 12 and 18 months to deliver given the need to complete development and testing, and to establish production. The radar has an obvious application as a retrofit for Gripen C/Ds, and could also be included as an option instead of the PS-05/A Mk 4 for new C/D sales, with the potential of revitalizing that aircraft’s sales prospects. Other opportunities include other fighter types, particularly as an upgrade option.

The company sees opportunities for the X-band radar beyond fighters, including installation in advanced trainer and aggressor aircraft. Moreover, the radar has been designed in a modular fashion, and is scalable. This opens up a wide range of applications, including scaled-up radars of almost Erieye ER size for X-band surveillance. Ship- and UAV-based opportunities are also being studied.

For now there are no plans to equip the new-generation Gripen E/F with the GaN radar as the GaAs-based Leonardo ES-05 Raven is fully integrated for that requirement, but it could be substituted if a customer specified it. Saab also points out that the work being performed by the company on an AESA radar for the KF-X fighter in collaboration with South Korean industry is a separate project.

Question --> Is this the first operational production version of a GaN AESA

Perhaps Saab could be approached for a lower cost version JV.

Comments pls ...


@Khafee @Mangus Ortus Novem @TomCat @maxpane @Mingle @TsAr @Mastankhan @Scorpion @Gripen9 @BATMAN
 
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AliYusuf

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Maybe Saab could be encouraged to offer off the shelf sale for the GaN TRMs. That would be a huge boost to our avionics development front.
 

AliYusuf

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Moreover, the radar has been designed in a modular fashion, and is scalable. This opens up a wide range of applications, including scaled-up radars of almost Erieye ER size for X-band surveillance.
Does this imply that the EriEye and EriEye-ER sensor are not based on GaN TRMs?
 

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Does this imply that the EriEye and EriEye-ER sensor are not based on GaN TRMs?
EriEye is not GaN based. EriEye ER is. Pls see below, publicly published data:


GlobalEye: airborne surveillance takes new heights

Jonas Härmä is head of sales and marketing, airborne surveillance systems, at Saab. He has worked for the Swedish firm in sales, marketing, training, project management and business development since 1995.

Härmä of the firm’s Airborne Surveillance Systems division.

Jonas Härmä is head of sales and marketing, airborne surveillance systems, at Saab. He has worked for the Swedish firm in sales, marketing, training, project management and business development since 1995.

Julian Turner: How is GlobalEye able to undertake airborne early warning, maritime and ground surveillance simultaneously?

Jonas Härmä: GlobalEye brings together a sophisticated set of the latest surveillance sensors and communications that allow the operators to survey air and surface all on-board one platform.

The large radar on the back of the aircraft is an Erieye ER active electronically scanned array (AESA) consisting of numerous advanced modules that use gallium nitride (GaN) technology to scan air and surface for the most challenging of targets within a very large volume of space. A Seaspray radar by Leonardo is located underneath the aircraft and supports on surface surveillance, while an electro-optical turret under the chin of GlobalEye provides a day/night visual image within a 360° arc.

Excerpt above, More Details below:



When the new SRSS platforms enter service they will bring a dramatic increase in capability. The Erieye ER S-band radar alone, with its gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology, promises a 70 per cent increase in detection range against traditional aerial targets, as well as offering much improved performance against small, low-flying vehicles, as well as those with low-observable 'stealthy' characteristics. The Erieye ER also has a maritime surface detection capability.

GlobalEye combines a full suite of sophisticated sensors including the powerful new extended range radar (Erieye ER), with the ultra-long range Global 6000 jet aircraft. According to Saab, the Erieye ER gives the aircraft a 70% increase of the detection range (about 650 km) compared to the previous version. The radar provides wide-area moving target indication (GMTI) as well as improved performance against small targets such as stealth aircraft, unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles or submarine periscopes.

At the heart of the GlobalEye system is the new Erieye ER radar. This has drawn on GaN technology used in Saab’s latest Giraffe radars to create a sensor with a 70 percent range increase over the previous Erieye generation. This has been made possible by GaN transmit/receive modules that, for the same power input as the current Erieye, produce a radar signal output of more than double.
 

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Maybe Saab could be encouraged to offer off the shelf sale for the GaN TRMs. That would be a huge boost to our avionics development front.
Saab has a good relation with Pakistan, they supplied ER without dehati aurat going nuts. It should definitely be explored, BUT Leonardo, has a good relation as well, and personally there are 2 things I would like Pakistan to get from them:

1) Helicopter production facility, which I mentioned in another thread

and
2) Possibly some or all of the following:

VIXEN 1000E (1000 trm aesa radar)

The SkyWard Infrared Search and Track (IRST)

BriteEye

While speaking to both these OEM's, Pak can do, what it did with the EF negotiations i.e. used the Su-35 as a decoy.
 
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Saab has a good relation with Pakistan, they supplied ER without dehati aurat going nuts. It should definitely be explored, BUT Leonardo, has a good relation as well, and personally there are 2 things I would like Pakistan to get from them:

1) Helicopter production facility, which I mentioned in another thread

and
2) Possibly some or all of the following:

VIXEN 1000E (1000 trm aesa radar)

The SkyWard Infrared Search and Track (IRST)

BriteEye

While speaking to both these OEM's, Pak can do, what it did with the EF negotiations i.e. used the Su-35 as a decoy.
Did they really sell ER version to [email protected] sir this is a revelation if true!
 

Khafee

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Why it's always the white people who make best things and we brownies can't do anything ?
We have a higher reproduction rate then them, and ultimately that counts, and is good. It will insure that our nation carries on. In Japan, they are importing people from Philippines and Vietnam, because of a seriously ageing population.(:-)
 

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Saab has a good relation with Pakistan, they supplied ER without dehati aurat going nuts. It should definitely be explored, BUT Leonardo, has a good relation as well, and personally there are 2 things I would like Pakistan to get from them:

1) Helicopter production facility, which I mentioned in another thread

and
2) Possibly some or all of the following:

VIXEN 1000E (1000 trm aesa radar)

The SkyWard Infrared Search and Track (IRST)

BriteEye

While speaking to both these OEM's, Pak can do, what it did with the EF negotiations i.e. used the Su-35 as a decoy.
Since IRST is already being planned to be mounted externally instead of mounting on nose top, Skyward doesn’t have anything to offer us.

Although, It has always been my desire to see IRST on nose, Since it can be accommodated if the nose is modified for AESA
 

TomCat

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Why it's always the white people who make best things and we brownies can't do anything ?
They are good at marketing,

Meet them in science projects, They are too concerned for the work, Unlike our people.
 

Khafee

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Since IRST is already being planned to be mounted externally instead of mounting on nose top, Skyward doesn’t have anything to offer us.

Although, It has always been my desire to see IRST on nose, Since it can be accommodated if the nose is modified for AESA
Well this point doesn't make sense to me, If a nose mounted IRST offers better capability, you would turn it down because you have decided you are going to have a podded one? and tying up a hard point is always a good point?
 

TomCat

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Well this point doesn't make sense to me, If a nose mounted IRST offers better capability, you would turn it down because you have decided you are going to have a podded one? and tying up a hard point is always a good point?
I don’t like the idea of external IRST.

If only something like this was on cards

E9CFC037-C9BC-4EC5-A35E-FE0C3E59B1D7.jpeg
 

TomCat

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My young friend, that is exactly something I wish the PAF would explore i.e. an embedded IRST instead of podded.
What a waste of newborn HardPoint !!!

Those magical Thapp Thapp were satisfying and yet not.

Now you will think, What is this Thapp Thapp I am referring to:)
 
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