January 31, 2008:
A U.S. radar manufacturer (Lockheed Martin)
has developed a new capability for phased-array radars that enables incoming
targets to be more precisely identified. In particular, the new digital beam
forming feature enables fake missile warheads to be detected. This makes it
possible to make more attacks on real warheads, and fewer anti-missile missiles
wasted on the deceptions.
In addition, the design of the
individual nodes in a phased array radar has been changed, using more sturdy
materials, and enabling each of the thousands of nodes (in a typical ship
radar) to use more power. This provides more range and precision. Phased array
radars are used in ships, aircraft and in large ground based systems, as well
as space satellites.
Digital beam forming is just the latest
new development of radar technology, forming part of a trend that began over 70
years ago, when the first radar entered service. Cheaper and more abundant
computer power has led to many improvements, by being able to get more information
from the signals bounced back.