Raytheon’s plans to further enhance sensors for surveillance, communications, and electronic warfare will center around what it calls the “flexible distributed array radar” (FlexDAR). Backed by an $8.5 million base contract awarded to the company from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the effort is a part of the ONR Integrated Topside (InTop) Program to demonstrate both radar and radar-to-radar communications functions.

New capabilities include the implementation of every-radar-element-level digital beam forming, combined with network coordination and precise time synchronization. Other capabilities include increased detection and firm-track range, improved electronic protection, enhanced tracking through simultaneous multistatic dwells, improved detection of targets in clutter, and greater availability. These functions will serve to implement bi-static exchange and control.

The first phase of the program involves design of the radar front-end, demonstrating all critical components and subassemblies. In the second phase, Raytheon will build two identical, multi-function array antennas; they will be installed and demonstrated to show several important advantages of the network-linked, distributed sensors. This phase will also serve as the foundation for the exploration and testing of next-generation radar capabilities.