AESA Radar & Its Applications

Course length:

3 Days



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ACTIVE ELECTRONICALLY SCANNED ARRAY (AESA) radar has become the system of choice on modern platforms. In this three-day course, participants will learn AESA’s capabilities and constraints, and how these capabilities and constraints come about as a result of the AESA approach. In this three-day course, participants will learn why the AESA radar has become the system of choice on modern platforms by understanding its capabilities and constraints, and how these capabilities and constraints come about as a result of the AESA approach. While offering performance that is inherently superior to conventional systems, AESA radar is technologically and architecturally more complex. This course will then proceed to describe in details several key surface and airborne radar applications who have been used in traditional radar systems, but whose performance is enhanced by the AESA class of radar. Essential support technologies such as antenna auto calibration, antenna auto compensation, and radar modeling and simulation will also be covered.

What You Will Learn:

  • The evolution of radar systems from mechanical rotators to ESA and AESA
  • Fundamental principles and concepts of ESA and AESA
  • Major advantages and challenges of AESA radar systems
  • Required support technologies of AESA arrays
  • Key applications of AESA radar in surface and airborne platforms.
  • State-of-the-art advances in related radar technologies – i.e., radar waveforms

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction: The evolution of radar from mechanical rotators through ESA to AESA. The driving elements, the benefits, and the challenges. Applications that benefit from the new technology.
  2. Radar Subsystems: Transmitter, antenna, receiver and signal processor ( Pulse Compression and Doppler filtering principles, automatic detection with adaptive detection threshold, the CFAR mechanism, sidelobe blanking angle estimation), the radar control program and data processor.
  3. Electronically Scanned Antenna (ESA): Fundamental concepts, directivity and gain, elements and arrays, near and far field radiation, element factor and array factor, illumination function and Fourier transform relations, beamwidth approximations, array tapers and sidelobes, electrical dimension and errors, array bandwidth, steering mechanisms, grating lobes, phase monopulse, beam broadening, examples.
  4. Solid State Active Phased Arrays (AESA): What is AESA, Technology and architecture. Analysis of AESA advantages and penalties. Emerging requirements that call for AESA, Issues at T/R module, array, and system levels. Emerging technologies. Examples.
  5. Module Failure and Array Auto-compensation: The ‘bathtub’ profile of module failure rates and its three regions, burn-in and accelerated stress tests, module packaging and periodic replacements, cooling alternatives, effects of module failure on array pattern. Array failure-compensation techniques.
  6. Auto-calibration of Active Phased Arrays: Driving issues, types of calibration, auto-calibration via elements mutual coupling, principal issues with calibration via mutual-coupling, some properties of the different calibration techniques.
  7. Multiple Simultaneous Beams: Why multiple beams, independently steered beams vs. clustered beams, alternative organization of clustered beams and their implications, quantization lobes in clustered beams arrangements and design options to mitigate them. Relation to AESA.
  8. Surface Radar: Principal functions and characteristics, nearness and extent of clutter, anomalous propagation, dynamic range, signal stability, time, and coverage requirements, transportation requirements and their implications, bird/angel clutter and its effects on radar design. The role of AESA.
  9. Airborne Radar: Principal functions and characteristics, Radar bands, platform velocity, pulse repetition frequency (PRF) categories and their properties, clutter spectrum, dynamic range, sidelobe blanking, mainbeam clutter, clutter filtering, blindness and ambiguity resolution post detection STC. The role of AESA.
  10. Modern Advances in Waveforms: Traditional Pulse Compression: time-bandwidth and range resolution fundamentals, figures of merit, existing codes description. New emerging requirements, arbitrary WFG with state of the art optimal codes and filters in response. MIMO radar. MIMO waveform techniques and properties, relation to antenna architecture, and the role of AESA in the implementation of the above.
  11. Synthetic Aperture Radar: Real vs. synthetic aperture, real beam limitations, derivations of focused array resolution, unfocused arrays, motion compensation, range-gate drifting, synthetic aperture modes, waveform restrictions, processing throughputs, synthetic aperture ‘monopulse’ concepts.. MIMO SAR and the role of AESA.
  12. High Range Resolution via Synthetic Wideband: Principle of high range resolution – instantaneous and synthetic, synthetic wideband generation, grating lobes and instantaneous band overlap, cross-band dispersion, cross-band calibration, examples.
  13. Adaptive Cancellation and STAP: Adaptive cancellation overview, broad vs. directive auxiliary patterns, sidelobe vs. mainbeam cancellation, bandwidth and arrival angle dependence, tap delay lines, space sampling, and digital arrays, range Doppler response example, space-time adaptive processing (STAP), system and array requirements, STAP processing alternatives. Digital arrays and the role of AESA.
  14. Radar Modeling and Simulation Fundamentals: Radar development and testing issues that drive the increasing reliance on M&S, purpose, types of simulations – power domain, signal domain, H/W in the loop, modern simulation framework tools, examples: power domain modeling, signal domain modeling, antenna array modeling, fire finding modeling
  15. Radar Tracking: Functional block diagram, what is radar tracking, firm track initiation and range, track update, track maintenance, algorithmic alternatives (association via single or multiple hypotheses, tracking filters options), role of electronically steered arrays in radar tracking.
  16. Key Radar Challenges and Advances: Key radar challenges, key advances (transmitter, antenna, signal stability, digitization and digital processing, waveforms, algorithms)


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SCHEDULING: If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time. To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at

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