MIC (Microwave Integrated Circuits) Technology for Phased Arrays,
COMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH CENTRE OTTAWA (ONTARIO)
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The evolution of microwave integrated circuits MICs during the 60s and 70s permitted the consideration of active aperture phased array antennas. Several such systems have in fact, been realized and demonstrated. An early example of this was the Molecular Electronics Radar Array MERA system developed in the late 60s by Texas Instruments. However, such systems continued to be expensive and impractical, in most cases due to the high cost and lack of reproducibility of the microwave components required. More recently, phased arrays such as the PAVEPAWS, COBRADANE and the AEGIS have been deployed. However, they are very large and expensive and one-of-a-kind in nature. The rapid evolution of monolithic MMIC and miniature MICs MHMIC during the 70s and 80s and their potential for overcoming these limitations has resulted in renewed interest in the development and deployment of phased array antennas for many applications, until now considered totally impractical. Phased array requirements differ greatly depending on the application. They may be for radars or for communications, and they may be for airborne, terrestrial, or space application. Table I lists several types fo systems, each placing different general demands on the required phased array TR module. As may be seen, the requirements vary greatly in frequency of operation, bandwidth, need for conformal structure, necessity of combined transmit and receive functions, importance of weight and size, and total power consumption.
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