Today, radar systems appear in many different applications.
Radar systems are found in everything from air and terrestrial traffic control to self-driving cars, space surveillance and air-defense systems. Many types of radar are also associated with digital signal processing, machine learning and are capable of extracting useful information from very high noise levels.
Radar system range is dependent on the average power of its transmitter and the physical size of its antenna, what is known as the power-aperture product. There are practical limits to each. Some radar systems have an average power of roughly one megawatt, however, phased-array radars can be over 100 feet in diameter or more.
Additionally, there are specialized radars with (fixed) antennas, such as some HF over-the-horizon radars and the U.S. Space Surveillance System (SPASUR), that extend more than one mile.
Another important radar systems concept important for radar systems engineers to know involves receiver noise.
The sensitivity of a radar receiver is determined by the unavoidable noise that appears at its input. At microwave radar frequencies, the noise that limits detectability is usually generated by the receiver itself rather than by external noise that enters the receiver via the antenna.
A radar systems engineer often employs a transistor amplifier as the first stage of the receiver even though lower noise can be obtained with more sophisticated (and more complex) devices.
This is an example of the application of the basic engineering principle that the “best” performance that can be obtained might not necessarily be the solution that best meets the needs of the user.
Want to know more? Tonex offers Radar Systems Design and Engineering Training, a 4-day course that covers the design and engineering of modern radar systems including analysis, high level architecture, design of critical components, transmitter/receiver, antenna, verification and validation, operations and maintenance.
Additionally, Tonex offers another 45 courses in Aerospace & Defense Engineering, including:
—Combat Systems Engineering Training (3 days)
—Advanced Link 16 Training (3 days)
—DO-178 Training/DO-178C Training/DO-254 Training (4 days)
—Applied Systems Engineering for Logisticians (3 days)
—Intro to Fiber Optics and Infrared Sensors (3 days)
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