Engineers believe they have beaten evasion technique with processor fast enough to track target's changing frequencies

BAE Systems engineers believe they can produce electronics fast enough to enable the control system of an anti-radiation missile (ARM) to track a target's changing frequencies. ARMs are designed to track and hit an enemy's radars or communications, but are vulnerable to the evasion technique of changing signal frequency.

After 18 months of work as part of a US Department of Defense-funded project, researchers at BAE Systems Information and Electronic Warfare Systems in New Hampshire say they have achieved a clock speed of 152Ghz with an electronic circuit made of indium phosphide, not silicon. Desktop computers today operate at around 3-4Ghz.

"Such a missile is a notional concept at the moment. It would have a receiver that could change frequencies very rapidly. You could keep track of a radar station, for example. This circuit's properties could create electronics much faster than today's using far fewer transistors, meaning lower power consumption," says Frank Stroili, BAE Systems technology development manager.

The key to the circuit speed is the indium phosphide, which allows electrons to flow twice as fast as silicon.

Vitesse Semiconductor in California and the University of Illinois were BAE Systems' partners in the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency-funded programme. Known as the Technology for Frequency Agile Digitally Synthesized Transmitters, the total cost of the four-year programme is $14 million. Work began in October 2002 and the project is expected to finish in October 2006.



Source: Flight International