Abler helicopter radars

Russia’s premier airborne radar specialist Phazotron NIIR, a subsidiary of the concern KRET, has brought to HeliRussia 2014 its in-production Ka-band 8mm wavelength FH01 Millimeter Wave Radar (MMW) for the Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopter. The manufacturer explains that, because of the size restrictions on the aperture of helicopter radars, only the Ka band ensures the requisite target-to-clutter contrast for small-sized fixed targets and an appropriate bearing resolution. The Ka band is also preferred over the 3 mm wavelength band for its lower rain and fog attenuation under otherwise equal conditions. Phazotron NIIR is already working to develop a dual-band helicopter radar, seeing as the use of the Ka band alone has its limitations in terms of the terrain mapping area, the detection range for small-sized ground, airborne targets and weather phenomena, and the effective range in reduced optical visibility. In addition, the Russian military is aiming to expand the scope of Ka-52 applications by adding long-range maritime patrol missions against ground, sea-surface, aerial and dangerous weather targets. This is a job for the X band. The requirement to ensure high accuracy and resolution in the forward hemisphere, including the forward-looking capability (supported by the Ka band), and the desire to extend the radar’s effective range in the X band, prompted the designers to combine the two bands’ advantages by integrating their respective channels. The radar currently under development functionally integrates X- and Ka-band channels into a single system which forms, transmits, receives and processes of signals. There is a single antenna for both bands. Housed inside the helicopter’s nosecone, the modular radar is made up of individual functional units. The transmitter and the receiver controller are mounted at the antenna base to minimize waveguide and high-frequency interference and enable easy maintenance. The individual modules are cooled by internal or external autonomous ventilators. The radar is expected to weigh 80 kg. According to Phazotron NIIR, using two bands in a single radar will extend the effective range to 150 km for land and sea terrain imagery and for the detection of ground and sea-surface targets, and to 45 km for the detection of aerial targets. The radar will also boost the helicopter’s surveillance capability thanks to the high sensitivity of the X-band, which allows for picking up and tracking small-sized contrasting targets.

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