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Airborne AESAs

Europe, North America and Global (“Free world”) Markets with Forecasts to 2017 for Airborne Active Electronically-Scanned Array Radars (Airborne AESAs) Industry, Systems & Transmit-Receive Modules (TRMs)
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 Airborne AESAs Update — Europe, North America & Global (“Free world”) Market Forecasts for Systems and TRMs to 2017"


In 2007 Engalco released its first report on markets for phased-array radars – PAR1. Subsequently the analysts turned the spotlight onto active, electronically-scanned array radars and released Engalco’s first AESAs report followed by a second release (AESAs2 in 2009) and a substantial update (AESAs3, December 2010). All four reports: PAR1, AESAs, AESAs2 and AESAs3 went on to become best-sellers.

The material contained in this special focused report has been largely extracted from material available in Engalco’s December 2010 AESAs3 report – although further updates have also been blended-in here. Major new developments have occurred or are on the visible horizon, necessitating the generation of this update report.

Demand for radars is steadily increasing—both commercial and (especially) military.

The "War against Terrorism" and the campaigns in both Afghanistan and Iraq have continued to drive upwards electronics requirements in defense and security applications. This applies to airborne, battlefield, naval and space-based radars but since airborne AESAs lead the markets in all respects the entire focus here is on these types of AESAs.

Airborne systems are also proving to be extremely important for campaigns such as the Libya “no-fly” NATO effort and we believe this requirement will serve to support the continued deployments of many of the aircraft (and therefore also AESAs) that might otherwise have been discontinued owing to defense budget cuts.

Major systems integrators and principal consortium members in this industry segment include: Cassidian (previously part of EADS Defence Electronics), INDRA, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Company, Saab Microwave Systems, Selex Galileo (Sensors & Airborne Systems)—and Thales.


Underlying technology and impacts.


The one major technology focus in this report comprises the transmit-receive modules (TRMs) implementing MMICs built using selected chip-sets comprising, typically, GaAs and (increasingly) GaN.

Examples of references consulted for updated information include, mainly on the supply-side: exhibition-originated data (e.g. IMS/MTT-S 2010), on-going issues of the Microwave Journal, Microwaves & RF and Microwave Product Digest. On the Demand Side magazines such as Aviation Week & Space Technology and Janes Defense Review are regularly consulted. Important useful web links include: Military & Aerospace Electronics, Microwave Flash and RF Globalnet. Most importantly, regular contact is maintained with appropriate industry executives the majority of whom are well known to Engalco.


Summary of Some Major Updates:


  • The following list of AESA systems:


CAEW (Israel)

E-CAPTOR (Europe)

LEMV (USA – relatively very large arrays).


·         LEMV (Northrop Grumman) long endurance multi-purpose vehicle) represents a dramatic development in terms of AESA size. The first prototype LEMV (2014) is planned to have >100,000 TRMs and the final two systems will each have 7M TRMs.


·         N. B. any programs that may follow these LEMV developments will clearly be very important from the AESA “massive array” viewpoint.


  • Changes resulting from defense budgetary pressures (notably in the USA and the UK but ironically often favourable to AESA implementations – especially upgrades).


  • Changes resulting from specific new announcements (one outstanding example being that of the Eurofighter Typhoon radar with the E-CAPTOR development).


  • Much more detail on UVs (specifically the larger UAVs and UCAVs) having current AESA implementations or the potential for such.


  • Updated pricing (monetary values – internal costs) for T/R modules (TRMs).


  • Advances in the implementation of GaAs and GaN technologies.


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