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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Space-Qualifiable Digital Radar Transceiver

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Space-Qualifiable Digital Radar Transceiver, Phase II

Historically, radar systems have tended to be either large, complex, power-hungry, purpose-built systems, or extremely simple systems of limited capability. More recently, miniaturization of high-performance programmable integrated circuit technologies as embodied in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), as well as rapid advances in high-speed data conversion technologies at a gigasample per second and beyond, have enabled the implementation of direct-conversion radio frequency (RF) systems, including radar, that operate almost completely in the digital domain. In addition, solid-state high-power RF device technologies have improved in efficiency and speed to the point where highly efficient pulsed transmit sources are possible. As these device technologies have matured, their application in space environments has accelerated to the point where extremely flexible programmable radar systems can be implemented in a very small size, weight, and power footprint. Trident Systems has developed a powerful radar architecture called RAPTOR, validating it through flight testing on a number of Department of Defense programs. In Phase I of this effort, Trident Systems developed and validated a design concept for a flexible, programmable space-qualifiable digital radar transceiver (SQDRT) based on RAPTOR. This was accomplished through a comprehensive development process consisting of mission and requirements analysis, component trade studies, design analysis and simulation, and interface & form factor trade studies. The objective of the Phase II effort is to successfully produce a functioning form-factor prototype of the SQDRT, through a comprehensive program of system modeling and simulation, detailed digital & RF electronic design, FPGA firmware development, mechanical design, fabrication, integration, and testing, culminating in a prototype demonstration. By basing the solution on proven RAPTOR technology, the system will rapidly achieve a high TRL.

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