NRL Research Team Demonstrates WARLOC Radar

5/10/2002 - 36-02r
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Researchers from NRL's Radar Division and Electronics Science and Technology Division have developed the WARLOC radar system. WARLOC, a high-power, coherent W-Band Advanced Radar, is the world's highest power 94 GHz radar system. The demonstration took place at NRL's Chesapeake Bay Detachment, where the radar is currently installed. Dr. Robert LeFande, associate director of research for the Systems Directorate, and Dr. Bhakta Rath, associate director of research for the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate, attended the demonstration.

The WARLOC radar first operated on November 21, 2001 from NRL's Chesapeake Bay Detachment. Earlier attempts to develop coherent radars at W-band have been severely limited in their performance because of limitations in power amplifier technology and the lack of suitable microwave components. The NRL team overcame the shortcoming in power amplifier capability through the development of novel gyro-klystron amplifier technology. In a multi-year effort, the NRL team performed theoretical analysis, pilot designs, and prototype experiments on gyro-klystrons. The NRL efforts eventually led to the development of a high-average-power proto-type of the gyro-klystron amplifier in a collaborative project with US industry at (Communications and Power Industries (CPI) and Litton Industries) and with the University of Maryland. A world record for coherent amplifier performance at 94 GHz was achieved in June 2000, with the demonstration of 100 kW peak power, 10kW average power, and greater than 600 MHz bandwith.

The NRL team's goal for the WARLOC radar program was to develop an advanced coherent mobile radar system, which can be used to demonstrate important Navy applications of millimeter wave radar. Future applications include non-cooperative target recognition, target imaging based on inverse synthetic aperture radar techniques, missile test range instrumentation, electronic protection radar adjunct, detection of low cross section threats, and very accurate tracking close to the sea surface. The NRL team also plans a research effort in propagation and backscatter phenomenology at 94 GHz. This effort includes a joint research program with NRL's Remote Sensing Division and Plasma Physics Division to achieve new advances in cloud research.

The principal researchers for this joint project are Dr. Vilhelm Gregers-Hansen and Mr. George J. Linde from the Radar Division and Dr. Bruce G. Danly, from the Electronics Science and Technology Division.

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