Cyient, the Indian-headquartered global solutions provider, has announced a new line of low-cost transmit-receive (TR) modules for X-band AESA (active, electronically scanned array) radars that it believes will be a good fit for both its home market and export. Kaushal Jadia, Cyient’s vice president for avionics, says the small-form-factor modules, which the company has completed testing, will be significantly cheaper than available alternatives.
“The TR modules in traditional systems use high-precision manufacturing – chip- and wire-bound technology,” he says. “Therefore the recurring cost becomes quite high. Instead of doing those kind of devices, we thought of doing something that can be produced easily. That’s the primary basis of this design.”
The company has tested single-channel and quad-channel modules, which can use either gallium nitride or gallium arsenide semiconductor technology. Cyient is currently working on a design for a 64 x 64-element tile-array antenna. “The intention is, in the coming year, to come out with our own tile model, so that we can have a complete solution,” Jadia says.
The single- and quad-channel modules have completed company functional testing, and Jadia expects full qualification to be achieved by the end of this year. As well as cost benefits, customers will realize other savings across the system.
“The module can be manufactured as a standard PCB [printed circuit board] process, and therefore you can knock down the cost by more than 30%,” he says. “The weight also comes down, and therefore the overall cost of the radar system will reduce significantly.”
Jadia admits that Cyient set themselves a high bar for what is the division’s first product, but the potential prize in the marketplace made it a difficult challenge to turn down.
“X-band…is a bit of a holy grail as far as TR modules go,” he says. “But we thought of going for X-band directly, because that’s where we feel there’s good market positioning. [It solves] a whole lot of other challenges in terms of export solutions. And lot of companies who are doing business in Indian defense are looking for offsets, and TRM remains a key technology that the Indian government would like to do in-house.”