Company plans for expansion by investing in manufacturing using gallium arsenide

EADS Defence Electronics predicts a significant growth in business over the coming years for its radar transmit/receive (T/R) modules, to reflect the increasing military interest in shifting from the use of mechanical arrays to more capable active electronically scanned systems.

The company has identified the business area as a top priority for the next five years, and has already made a heavy investment in supporting manufacturing techniques using gallium arsenide.

Each T/R module is roughly 7cm (2.8in) long, 1cm wide and 0.5cm deep, and has a power output of about 10W. Future arrays will be scaled according to the size and requirements of the host platform, totalling from several hundred modules to around 10,000 for ground-based air defence applications, says EADS.

Planned uses for the company's T/Rmodules include their integration with the Captor multi-mode radar now under development for the Tranche 3 standard of the Eurofighter Typhoon, NATO's planned Alliance Ground Surveillance battlefield-reconnaissance system, and the TerraSAR-X radar mapping satellite, to be launched for the German research organisation DLR and Astrium next year.

They will also be used with the active phased-array antenna on Germany's future Tactical Radar Ground Surveillance system, a production decision on which is expected around 2008. Once deployed, the vehicle's radar will be capable of detecting infantry, vehicles and low-flying aircraft - at an altitude of less than 1,000ft (300m) - to a range of up to 40km (22nm).

EADS also hopes to supply T/Rmodules for the surveillance and multifunction fire-control radars that will form part of the US-led Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS). Lockheed Martin could select the design as part of the $3 billion engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the MEADS effort, which is a collaborative venture with Germany and Italy.

EADSsays its expertise could be applied to future seeker technologies, with two company-funded demonstrator programmes already looking at potential uses for T/Rmodules and micro-electromechanical systems with future missiles.

The Defence Electronics unit was formed on 1 January under EADS's new Defence & Security Systems business. If successful in securing orders to equip production systems for the Captor and MEADS, the company could manufacture millions of T/R modules at its Ulm microwave factory, which employs around 110 staff.

Source: Flight International