Defence and security company Saab Sensis has successfully completed Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) of a hardware modernization program of four Hughes Air Defense Radars (HADR) for the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). The company deployed a new Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) receiver/exciter, radar signal processor, radar data processor and display function in one cabinet to extend the service life, improve detection and tracking of today’s air threats and reduce maintenance costs.

The HADR is a ground-based air surveillance defense radar that was first deployed in Germany over thirty years ago. Today, obsolete components make maintenance costly, difficult and time consuming while the technology and computer algorithms lack the capability to accurately detect and track contemporary targets. The Luftwaffe chose to modernize and upgrade the radars to extend the service life, reduce and simplify maintenance and improve detection performance as a less costly, lower risk alternative to fielding new radars.

The Saab Sensis HADR modernization program maintains the existing operational and performance requirements and was conducted while the radars remained in service. The COTS solution provides more reliable position estimates in clutter, increases detection and reduces gaps and blind spots. In addition, the upgrade reduced the number of Line Replacement Units (LRUs) and eliminates the need for tuning and calibration.

”The Saab Sensis COTS radar modernization approach is a proven, effective means of extending the service life of existing air surveillance radars in a lower risk, lower cost manner than fielding a new radar,” said Erik Smith, general manager of Defense Products and Programs at Saab Sensis. ”The result is an improved radar that is ready to detect today’s airborne threats without the need to retrain radar operators.”

Saab Sensis has modernized more than 125 military and civilian 2D and 3D primary ground-based surveillance radars, comprising 16 different radar types in 22 countries. This includes upgrades to NATO Medium Power Radar signal/data processors, Hughes Air Defense Radar (HADR) receiver/exciter and signal/data processors, and Watchman Air Traffic Control Radar signal/data processors.