August 29, 2011

Russian AESA Radar for Future MiG 29s and Attack Helicopters

(Defenseworld) : Undaunted by missing the shortlist in India’s MMRCA competition, Phazotron-NIIR Corporation, the manufacturer of the ZHUK AE Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) radar is working on installing the radar in future MiG-29s besides the MiG-35 aircraft. A version will be developed for attack and seaborne helicopters of the Mi and KA series.

      Providing a rare insight into the AESA radar development, Phazotron-NIIR Corporation General Designer Yuri Guskov said during the MAKS 2011 exhibition recently that his company had continued development of the radar despite the Indian setback. “There was not a single criticism of our radar. Despite a certain bias on the part of the Indian evaluation pilots, their overall appraisal of the radar was very favourable. Everyone loved the extremely maintenance-friendly design, which allows for easy dismantling and reinstallation of the radar in the field”, he said during a media interaction during the show.

      The radar had a detection range of 250 km while the Indian tender specified only 130 km, he said adding that his was a true multimode radar, with assorted mapping and target recognition capabilities.

       It will be fitted into the MiG 35 fighter which the Russian MOD had decided to order. In addition, the radar would be offered as an upgrade for the newly built MIG 29 fighters, and for retrofitting those aircraft already in operation. No airframe changes are required, he added.

      Yuri Guskov said what made the AESA radar suitable for all types of aircraft and helicopters was that it operated on a low voltage and was light and easy to install which meant lower onboard power requirement. “Transmitters from previous generation radars operate from voltage of 18 kV to 30 KV. Such high voltages require specific materials, structural configuration and operational procedures. An AESA radar runs on a mere 30 V to 10 V. This low power requirement combined with a much lower weight than mechanically scanned radars, means it can be used in helicopters such as the KA 27 and KA 52K shipborne attack helicopters increasing detection range to 200 kms.

      Further development was on to make the AESA radar suitable for helicopters. “The challenge here is to reduce the weight to less than 50 KGs. We are doing this by reducing the thickness of the radar’s array from 170 mm to 50 MM.

      A phased array radar will allow helicopters to use medium range guided munitions such as anti-ship missiles”, he added.

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