The Defence Research and Development Organization’s (DRDO) Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) creators of India’s Uttam Fire Control Radar plan to develop an innovative, fully air-cooled fire-control radar. This new radar system aims to offer advanced long-range threat detection, tracking, and targeting capabilities. Notably, it is smaller and lighter than the Uttam Radar, making it a groundbreaking compact active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar that requires less power.

The development of lower-cost, smaller AESA radars is of paramount importance for various aircraft categories, including “attritable” unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and light-attack aircraft. In recent years, these aircraft types have gained prominence as cost-effective solutions for aerial combat scenarios.

The compact AESA radar, being developed by LRDE, will possess a significantly reduced weight compared to the Uttam Radar, which was designed for the Tejas Mk1A program. This lightweight characteristic allows for its integration into a wide range of platforms, including light-attack aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft, uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), and ground-based towers. The radar’s compact size not only enhances versatility but also ensures ease of installation and operation across various platforms.

The primary objective behind the development of this compact radar is to provide comprehensive threat detection capabilities while minimizing power consumption and weight. With its advanced AESA technology, the radar will offer increased situational awareness, facilitating rapid target acquisition and engagement. The radar’s air-cooled design eliminates the need for liquid cooling, thereby simplifying maintenance requirements and reducing logistical challenges.

The LRDE also plans to develop a liquid-cooled radar alongside the air-cooled variant. The liquid-cooled radar aims to support applications that demand higher power output.

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