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Refining Radars Through Automated Manufacturing

Raytheon’s latest manufacturing facility includes advanced testing capabilities for developing the latest high-power radar systems.

Raytheon Co. has long been linked with radar technology, although perhaps not with the most advanced manufacturing methods for those radar systems. But that may be changing, as the company recently unveiled a 30,000 ft.2 facility on its Andover, Mass. campus with some of the most sophisticated manufacturing approaches and systems for its radars. The new facility (see photo) is highly automated, providing rapid transitions from the design stage to the manufacturing and testing of an experimental system.

The new facility, with a total cost of $72 million, includes two near-field radar test ranges—one of which is now the largest in the company—and a 1.5-MW substation to meet the power requirements of present and future radar systems. The advanced facility features automated guided vehicles for autonomous movement of materials where needed, and the first “dual robotic” system in the aerospace and defense industry for radar array assembly.

Raytheon’s latest manufacturing and test facility is highly automated, including the use of robots, for radar system integration and characterization. (Photo courtesy of Raytheon Co.)

“We built the new radar development facility with the future—and our customers—in mind,” said Sarah Jennette, program manager for the project. “This advanced manufacturing campus now has the ability to work from atoms all the way up to massive radar arrays.”

Development of this facility follows a recent trend of major investments in the company for significantly enhancing Raytheon’s capabilities in designing and manufacturing advanced radar systems. “From physical size, to power capabilities, to automated tech, we are building for the future of radar,” said Jennette. “As the next step in our advanced manufacturing roadmap, it follows on the heels of our recently announced $100 million radar manufacturing plant to be built in Forest, Miss.”

This facility’s integration of manufacturing and test capabilities is expected to provide a huge boost to the integration and testing of present and future radar systems, such as the Navy’s next-generation integrated air and missile defense radar, the AN/SPY-6.

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