Plug-and-play antenna chip simplifies phased array radar

May 16, 2018 // By Rich Pell
Analog Devices (Norwood, MA) has introduced an active antenna beamforming chip that allows designers to quickly replace bulky, mechanically steered antenna platforms with a compact, solid-state solution for phased array radar and communications systems without the need for extensive third-party design support.

The ADAR1000, says the company, simplifies design and significantly reduces the size, weight, and power of phased array radar systems for defense, surveillance, air traffic control, communications, and weather monitoring. For avionics designers, the device enables flat-panel antenna arrays, which shrinks the profile of conventional radar systems and facilitates the design of smaller, lighter aircraft.

The four-channel ADAR1000 is a plug-and-play chip that allows designers with little or no RF experience to extend the performance and operating lifetime of their radar systems, the company says. It replaces 12 discrete components needed for antenna phase-gain adjustments and digital controls.

"ADI is combining the industry's broadest RF portfolio with extensive design and packaging expertise to help customers quickly implement phased array antennas," says John Cowles, general manager of Analog Devices' RF and Microwave Business Unit. "Our new phased array offering is smaller, lighter, and as powerful as a typical phased array solution. It also increases potential uses for phased array as it significantly reduces the profile of the antenna."

The IC supports time division duplexing (TDD) across the X and Ku bands, and includes an integrated T/R switch that can be used to select the common port as an input for transmit (Tx) or an output for receive (Rx). The four pairs of Tx and Rx channels have independently programmable gain and phase settings.

The ADAR1000 can be configured to directly control all aspects of external T/R module pulsing with minimal extra circuitry. All settings can be loaded into built-in memory for fast access to gain-phase states and T/R module settings.

Samples of the ADAR1000 are available now, with full production scheduled for June. An evaluation board - the ADAR1000-EVALZ - is also available.

Analog Devices

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