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21 October 2015

Seoul ADEX 2015: RADA's Tactical Radars Take on a C-UAV Role

RADA Electronic Industries is showcasing its Multimission Hemispheric Radar (MHR) family of tactical radars including their inherent C-UAV capabilities during Seoul ADEX 2015. Three air surveillance systems, the lightweight, 20kg RPS-42 based on the pMHR, and the 35kg RPS-72 (eMHR) and 45kg RPS-82 (ieMHR) ,which have longer detection ranges, are exhibited at Seongnam air base in hall C (booth C55).

Speaking to MT during the exhibition, Dov Sella, RADA's chief business development officer explained how the MHR family is a result of today's asymmetric threat with radars currently fielded being, "too big, too expensive and too remote," to cope with battlefield demands. In his own words, RADA, "breaks this paradigm," by offering compact, S-band, software defined AESA radars with sophisticated beam forming capabilities and advanced signal processing.

Capable of conducting sea, air and ground surveillance, the MHR family of tactical radars has been adopted by the Israeli MoD to guard Israel's border with Gaza. RADA's solid state radars have a high degree of commonality with more elements being added to the radar's antenna as size goes up in order to get more range. The radars can easily be, "tailored range wise," depending on the mission at hand according to Sella who went on to say that they are not only mobile but also, "work on the move," unlike most contemporary surveillance radar systems.

RADA's tactical air surveillance radars detect all types of threats and can thus be used for C-UAV and C-RAM purposes providing alert and tracking data to external C4I and air defence systems over ethernet. When integrated as part of a C-UAV system with EO/IR sensors and RF jammers, the company's radars enable a, "soft kill," solution against nano, micro and mini sized UAVs according to information provided by RADA. Tactical units are increasingly considered vulnerable to such systems which might be used as to limit their freedom of action or as flying IEDs.

A single radar provides 90° azimuth coverage with hemispheric coverage being guaranteed when four radars are employed as a system. Maximum detection range for the RPS-82 is given as 20km against mini UAS and 100km against heavy transport aircraft. For the RPS-42 these figures need to be halved with the RPS-72 fitting in between the two although its performance comes close to that of its high end family member. Sella made clear that he considers high energy laser (HEL), "the weapon of the future," with his company working, "on a number of projects in the United States."

RADA is known to have recently been selected by Lockheed Martin to support HEL weapon system testing. Also on display during Seoul ADEX 2015 is RADA's Compact Hemispheric Radar (CHR) family that includes the RPS-10 radar sensor system for active protection systems, the RPS-14 tactical perimeter defence radar system and the RPS-15 hostile fire management system for combat vehicles.
Pieter Bastiaans