I am sure you have all heard about AESA and while all of us understand that it is an important piece of technology, many of us don't understand what makes AESA radar's good. Well, I hope the following information will help you guys better understand what AESA is and what makes it so good.
So basically, AESA stands for Active Electronically Scanned Array. In an AESA radar the transmitter and the receiver are composed of numerous small T/R modules. AESA radar has instantaneous scanning that have low probability of intercept. They have simple designs because they require no hydraulics or hinges for antenna movement. Its less infrastructure and with no motion so it is cheaper to maintain. Some more main advantages are that they have extremely fast scanning, multiple target tracking, can also function as a radio jammer and the low probability of interception.
AESA radars offer significant gains in reliability. By focusing power at specific directions, the pilot can gain more detection range providing "first detect" for air-to-air engagements, enabling first shoot/first kill by missiles fired Beyond Visual Range (BVR) mode. The longer standoff range also allows more time for persistent target observation, information sharing, tactical analysis and commander assessment before critical decisions are made.
The Russian company Phazotron unveiled the Zhuk AE AESA radar installed on the MiG-35AESA radars are emitting not only radar signals, but can also be employed for non traditional ISR, as well as electronic attack. For example, some of the elements can transmit and receive signals modulated with datalink waveform, transferring large amounts of data (such as live video or aerial imagery) over high bandwidth datalinks. Similar techniques can be used for electronic attack, to jam or deceive electronic systems operated by enemy forces.
The mechanical scanning systems used in previous systems were prone to failures, which grounded the entire aircraft. The new systems use solid-state technology and electronic scanning, to replace the mechanical systems but also introduce multiple elements to replace the single channel design of previous systems. Therefore, AESA radars can sustain certain degree of failure without grounding the aircraft or disabling the entire radar system. Furthermore, when designed with modular approach, AESA radars can be gradually upgraded, by replacing the solid-state receive/transmit modules based on Gallium-arsenide semiconductors technology with more advanced elements, thus significantly improving performance.
The Zhuk Radar on the MIG-35
AESA radars have
* High ECM resistance:
o The extremely fast scan of the radar makes it difficult for an ECM device to find the correct azimuth and elevation in which the radar's main lobe is currently directed.
o High gain associated with AESA radars gives them high ERP, which makes it difficult for an active ECM device, using noise jamming techniques, to successfully jam such a radar.
* The extremely fast scan of the emitter gives it LPI features.
* Less susceptibility to voltage failures, due to the relatively very low voltage in which each and every single radiating element operates; This is combined with graceful degradation.