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BARS RADAR SYSTEM TANGIBLE ADVANTAGES
Currently, an increased interest has been shown in the Su-30MKI fighter performance. The international Red Flag exercise held in July-August
2008 in the United States, the outcomes of virtual duels between Russian Su-series aircraft and an American advanced F-35 fighter conducted in Hawaii in the presence of the Australian Air Force representatives, as well as the results of polls taken by the British Flight magazine in November 2008 suggest that the Su-30MKl is superior to the US F-15 fighter and comparable to the newest F-22 Raptor.
The Su-30MKI lias become the world's first series-produced aircraft featuring supermaneuverability and the first export fighter fitted with the BARS electronically scanned radar.
The BARS radar control system is a radar system implementing the benefits of electronically scanned antenna over mechanically scanned antennas (installed on F-15, F-16, F-18, Su-27, MiG-29, etc.) and com¬puter capabilities, including digital radar signal processing. As a result, it can;
• Detect and track simultaneous¬ly several air targets within a large area (its electronic scan area exceeds 5,000 sq. deg).
• Detect, track and engage a ground target while simultaneously detecting, tracking and engaging air targets.
• Operate in standard radar modes that can be changed and adapted to specific missions and operational conditions, including ECM environments.
• Be tailored to the avionics of any aircraft.
The term «simultaneously» means a capability of switching between modes and positioning the radar beam anywhere within the electronic scan area in hundreds of microseconds.
The BARS supports traditional air-to-air and air-to-surface radar modes.
It has been integrated with the SuOOMKI, Su-ЗОМКА, and Su-30MKM aircraft. Efforts are underway to further enhance the BARS performance. Phase 1 upgrad¬ing efforts are supposed to:
• More than double the air target detection range.
• Increase the number of tracked and engaged targets 15 to 2 times.
• Double mapping performance as regards ground target detection range and resolution.
• Double the number of tracked ground targets.
• Add new operation modes in air-to-air and air-to-surface missions (particularly, Meteo, Active Counter-measures modes).
• Expand interaction with other avionics systems (ECM, EO target¬ing system, etc.).
• Extend the range of weapons.
• Enhance formation mission capabilities.
• Introduce service proposals. Implementing thesL> measures
will give the BARS tangible advan¬tages over radar systems installed both on current aircraft like F-15, F-16, F-18, etc. and their versions with respect to the transition to active electronically scanned arrays (AESA).
We should mention fifth-genera¬tion aircraft's AESA radar systems representing a pledge of over¬whelming superiority over the AESA radars are generally com¬pared to non-AESA radars, but in fact the question involves limitations of mechanically scanned antennas. The BARS radar uses a passive electronically scanned array (PESA). The PESA is not the AESA, however it offers the same key advantage over mechanically scanned antennas - a capability of almost instantaneously pointing the antenna beam in the desired direc¬tion (within several microseconds for the AESA and hundreds of microseconds far the PESA).
AESA's key advantages over the PESA are significantly higher reliability of antenna transmitting channel and a wider operating band. This favors the system's ECM immu¬nity and allows more missions to be handled simultaneously. Moreover, it should be noted that upon comple¬tion of the BARS Phase 1 upgrading program, a changeover to the AESA will be made. Then, both AESA- and PESA-equipped aircraft can be operated concurrently.
For many customers, the basic and essential deficiency of the AESA radar systems is their high cost exceeding that of the PESA radar by several times. Tikhomirov Institute's researchers have long been working on PESA and AESA anten¬nas, but they think that the capabilities of cheaper and simpler passive array radars have not yet been exhausted.
The BARS history out¬line is as follows. Development of the sys¬tem began in the 1990s when our country was facing serious problems. Nevertheless, it became possible to establish strong cooperation in the development and series production of radar con¬trol systems. First of all, we should mention the Rya/.an State Instrument Plant that fine-tuned design documentation and new production processes, primarily related to passive phased array antennas, while simultaneously conducting R&D and supporting production deliveries. Besides, worthy of note are key contributors to the radar development and deliveries such as NPO Radyi (
Moscow), ZAO Kotlin-Novator, NPO Leninets ( St. Petersburg), NPO Alma/ ( Saratov), NPO Istok ( ), and ZAO Almaz-Phazotron. Moscow
For the first time ever the radar system projected for combat aircraft involved the use of computing aids developed and supplied for produc¬tion models by the Indian side. As of today, the number of manufactured BARS systems is approaching 200.