Brownout Radar Beamforming Using Electronically Reconfigurable Apertures
Agency / Branch:
DOD / NAVY
In a number of arid regions of the world, recirculation of dust by the rotorwash of helicopters results in the loss of visual cues during helicopter approach and landing. This condition is typically referred to as brownout. This is a serious problem for all services and leads to numerous aircraft and personnel losses in Afghanistan and Iraq. The effectiveness of the conventional approach of using spotters positioned in aircraft doorways to call out and maintain clearance from obstacles has obvious limitations, especially in the most degraded visual environments. An "Electronic Bumper" system would detect and track major obstacles including other aircraft in flight during brownout and virtually all low/no visibility approach and landing. An active RF system is preferred, one operating at high-enough frequency and bandwidth to provide the needed system resolution. SNC's electronically reconfigurable aperture (ERA) technology is ideally suited to this task. ERA is a patented electronically steerable array technology that has been demonstrated at across the range of frequencies of interest. This proposal describes the development of an antenna and beamformer architecture that provides functionality required for use in brownout radar systems.
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