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Agat and Phazotron work on new and upgraded radars

Alexander Velovich/MOSCOW

The Agat Moscow Research Institute is developing an upgrade of its active seeker for medium range air-to-air missiles. At the same time Russian radar house Phazotron is preparing to test new long range phased array radars.

Agat's 9B-1103M active radar seeker will have a 25km (13.5nm) acquisition range against 5m² (54ft²) radar cross section - or fighter-sized - targets.

Iosiph Akopyan, Agat general designer and director, says the use of fibre-optic rotation sensors (FORS)in place of inertial gyros will give the seeker an almost instantaneous readiness capability. Akopyan says Agat is developing the seeker as a private venture and that it can be installed on any air-to-air missile with a 200mm (7.8in) diameter body including the Vympel R-77 (AA-12 Adder/RVV-AE). Laboratory testing continues on components and a seeker prototype will be ready for integration by mid-2000.

Akopyan says a family of active seekers for air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles can be developed using FORS. He says 200mm, 330mm and 450-500mm diameter seekers could cover the range of missile requirements. FORS sensors are produced by Moscow-based Fizoptika and cost about $2,000 each, Agat says equivalent performance laser gyros cost $25,000.

The upgraded 9B-1103M also uses a new digital processor for signal and data processing. At 10kg (22lb), the seeker is 6kg lighter than the R-77's 9B-1348E which has a 16km acquisition range. Akopyan says that Agat is looking for international partners to develop the seeker.

Meanwhile, Phazotron is preparing to perform ground tests of its Sokol passive phased array radar, which is being developed for multirole fighters such as the Sukhoi S-37, says general director Anotoly Kanashchenkov. A prototype was displayed at last week's Moscow air show.

The radar uses a non-equidistant rather than the traditional linear radar field distribution, which, he says, allows a fivefold radar cost reduction. The production radar will have a 1m antenna diameter, weigh 250-270kg and have a 180km detection range against a 3m² radar cross section target. Kanashchenkov says it will be capable of interleaving between air-to-air and air-to-ground modes. Electronic beam steering will give ±70° spatial coverage.

The prototype has a single liquid cooled 2.5kW transmitter, although Kanashchenkov says a more powerful version would mount two transmitters on the same antenna.

A smaller variant of the radar, the Pharaon, weighs 75kg and has a 70km range, while the similar Pharaon-M uses solid-state components, reducing its weight to 45kg. The Pharaon is intended for use on the twin-seat Sukhoi Su-27IB fighter-bomber and the Su-33KUB naval fighter.

Kanashchenkov sees the phased array radars as an intermediate step to active phased arrays. "In five to seven years, perhaps at most 10 years, the radar technology will not use passive phased arrays. We are preparing a preliminary design study of an active phased array radar. This first stage of development will be completed this year."

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