max range of the an/apg81 and AESA

Cockpit, radar, helmet-mounted display, and other avionics
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playloud

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Unread post10 Oct 2016, 17:56

What kind of price difference would we be talking about for an APG-81 with GaN vs GaA?
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hornetfinn

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Unread post11 Oct 2016, 09:25

playloud wrote:What kind of price difference would we be talking about for an APG-81 with GaN vs GaA?


This question is impossible to answer without knowing what the exact purpose and goal is. For example is the point getting maximum range performance which would mean quite a bit higher number of modules and would mean basically totally new antenna assembly and possibly other significant changes. That would be pretty expensive, likely something like 2-3 times the current unit cost. If the idea was to switch GaAs modules to GaN, it would be less costly, but still more expensive (currently, but changing quickly). If the idea was to have current performance level at lower power consumption and heat generation along with even higher reliability, it might actually be significantly cheaper. This is because much less modules would be needed with GaN and GaN can be used with less to no packaging, less cooling and prime power.

Another thing is that GaN cost has gone down quickly and seem to continue to do so as processes are improved and production is increased massively. I think it's time for fighter radars to move to GaN in about 10 years as right now GaAs is more than good enough and we can get a lot of other improvements to radar systems by then and not just the move from GaAs to GaN. I'm sure F-35 will receive GaN radar antenna at some point, probably in 2025-2030 timeframe.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post13 Oct 2016, 13:16

Sweden’s SAAB sweetens deal for Gripen jet
13 Oct 2016 DINAKAR PERI

"In an aggressive push to capture a share in India’s fighter aircraft market, Swedish aerospace major SAAB has offered its latest radar technology [GaN] as part of the Gripen fighter package...

...Explaining the developments in Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Lars Tossman, vice-president & Head of Communications of SAAB said that they were the first company to develop an AESA radar with Gallium Nitride which, he said, significantly enhances its efficiency and performance over the current AESA radars...."

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/s ... 212340.ece
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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bring_it_on

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Unread post14 Nov 2016, 15:07

playloud wrote:What kind of price difference would we be talking about for an APG-81 with GaN vs GaA?


You would have to talk to industry insiders to try to find out the industrial cost of switching materials over to GaN and deliver the sort of scale the JSF as a program demands. I mean, we aren't talking about a couple of dozen radars a year here. That cost imho is a lot more significant than the actual unit cost of the hardware itself since the latter can be used to offset other cost down the road through higher up times, longer life, and less costly upgrades down the road.

At some stage the cost associated with creating that capacity may be more than justified by higher performance, and/or lower cost on account of other programs creating the broader capacity for you. However, unless there is a performance deficiency that can only be overcome by making an investment there are probably far better areas to invest the finite FOD resources than switching over to GaN radar. I agree a decade from now the equation may change but for now there are a lot of capability enhancements that will consume the mult-billion dollar follow on development program.
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Unread post12 Aug 2017, 18:50

Just a 50 second video about the APG-81 F-35 AESA radar: https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/896383342203023360
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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