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Researchers are developing digital radar technology that will replace legacy analog radars used by the US military. These researchers say that digital technology is finally at the point where the switch of analog to digital could be made smoothly. This Multi-Mission Radio Frequency Architecture promises to provide US warfighters with more flexibility and better performances during ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) missions, even against advanced adversaries.  

According to machinedesign.com, the new digital radar can be reconfigured for different functions such as communication, navigation, or electronic warfare, reducing the need for additional hardware. Soldiers and sailors will be able to download tools for each mission as firmware and software onto equipment about the size of a small toolbox. The research team is using advanced electronic components developed for 5G cellphone systems to gain major advantages in performance and agility over similar technologies.

5G technology increases the amount of information wireless technologies can transmit and receive, and the researchers are utilizing it in order to create digital processing tools that convert massive amounts of analog data to digital signals and vice-versa. The new radar architecture and wireless communication can operate simultaneously on several radio-frequency channels to work together on a single function or work independently on several different functions.

It seems that this new architecture is designed to be more resistant to jamming and disrupting as this system will allow military operators to make changes to the change characteristics of their transmitted signal in real-time, making it harder to recognize and jam. In addition, the new radar can be used to analyze complex radio-frequency environments filled with many kinds of signals, including those of an adversary.

According to a press release, this technology could be ready in the next two years.