DARPA Throws Support Behind Upgradeable Radar Architectures

DARPA Throws Support Behind Upgradeable Radar Architectures

The Arrays at Commercial Timescales (ACT) program is tasked with developing technology to enable rapidly upgradeable and widely deployable radar array architectures. Furthering this initiative, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded Raytheon $5 million in contracts for the next phase of the program.

The ACT program utilizes Raytheon’s Rapid Array Performance Improvement and Deployment (RAPID) concepts, developed to shorten the timescales and costs associated with phased array development, deployment, and upgrades. RAPID essentially creates a building block composed of a digitally-influenced common module and a reconfigurable radiating antenna element. RAPID is scalable and customizable for each individual application—without the need for a full redesign of the application space.

Other parts of the ACT program include the development of reconfigurable and tunable RF apertures spanning S- and X-band frequencies. The final objective is the implementation of precious timing and localization sufficient for networking widely separated common modules into a coherent, cooperative large array. The program was announced in 2013 and aims to push past the current ecosystem of 10-year development cycles and 20- to 30-year static life cycles.

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