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Leonardo works on ‘Europe’s first fully digital’ radar
AESA Radars © Allocer CC BY-SA 3.0

Leonardo works on ‘Europe’s first fully digital’ radar

07/12/17Defence

Italy’s Leonardo is edging closer to producing a fully digital, active, electronically scanned array radar – the only one of its kind in Europe, according to the firm.

The L-band Kronos Power Shield radar is being built for the Italian Navy’s new Landing Helicopter Dock Vessel.

Renzo Tosini, naval and air defence line of business director at Leonardo’s Land and Naval Defence Electronics Division, said: “We are evolving the new Leonardo AESA radar into a fully digital system, which allows us to manage a bigger amount of data in less time, so enhancing the radar performance.”

Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars use grids of small transmit receive modules (TRMs), each generating an individual radar beam which can be combined to create a larger, composite, directed radar beam.

With each TRM containing its own power source, the breakdown of one barely affects overall performance, unlike traditional radars wherein a sole power source behind the antenna powers the entire radar.

The key element in the new radar is that the transmitting and receiving signal is already digital at the level of the single radiating element.

The new technology is being developed as Fincantieri enters talks to jointly build warships with France’s Naval Group.

Politicians in Italy have raised fears that the systems, like radar, which Leonardo has long supplied to Fincantieri ships might be squeezed out of the joint programme by kit supplied by France’s Thales.

Pan European Networks Ltd