January 14, 2015

AESA Radar under project 'UTTAM' being tested on LCA Tejas

An AESA Radar, development of which has started under Project 'Uttam' which is a sanskrit work for 'Best' is being developed by India's state-run Defence Research & Development Organisation. The flight control AESA radar with a range of 100km will be the first multi-mode mission radar developed in India.

India will mount a homemade active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark-2. Realisation and calibration of prototype Active Aperture Array Antenna Unit (AAAU) has been completed with indigenous TR modules. Airworthy Radar processor and exciter - receiver have been realised and tested on a high rise platform in Mechanical Scanned Array configuration (MSA) for validation of various algorithms and waveforms of the fire control radar.Software development for Air-Air sub modes has been carried out.

The software update has been completed and the DRDO is testing the radar in air-to-air & air-to-ground mode. Once the development will be completed the radar will be able to carry out high resolution mapping of the ground, detect and track multiple ground moving targets, threat identification in air and ground & electronic warfare and counter measures. It will also feature an ultra high bandwidth comminicator.

The AESA Project is still a long way from completion and the DRDO has not clarified if Israeli help has been sought to expedite the project. The development of the redar began in 2011-12 and will be fitted on all Tejas MK-2.

The Air Force has ordered 20 LCA Mark-1 aircraft and is likely to order more then 200 LCA Mark-2s once the aircraft is inducted into service. The LCA Mark-1, which is due for induction in 2013-2014, will not be used for combat because it does not have the required thrust. The Mark-2, however, will be powered by the General Electric F414 engine and the aircraft has added two tons to the LCA’s original weight of eight tons.

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