Here at the Paris Air Show, IAI Elta (Chalet 210) unveiled its Ultra radar family and announced that it is now operational after five years of development. The system, which works in the UHF band for better small-target detection at long ranges, features advanced digitization for greater operational capability. The family is modular, allowing different systems to be built up to answer different requirements.
At the heart of the Ultra family is the ELM-2090U module, an array of UHF transmit-receive modules (TRM) in a single clustered unit that has been designed so that modules can be easily swapped. Using UHF, rather than the higher frequency bands, has particular application at long ranges since it suffers from less signal loss in the atmosphere.
A discriminating innovation of the ELM-2090U is the digitization of the signal at TRM level. In most electronically scanned radars, the digitization of the radar’s analog signals is performed further back in the radar. Conducting the process at TRM level allows more flexibility in beam-forming and shaping.
In its basic form, the single-module ELM-2090U is being promoted as a mobile air surveillance radar with a range capability of up to 310 miles. Known as the Ultra-C1, this radar can be mounted on a truck bed and has a fully rotating pedestal.
For long-range early warning with capability against satellites, aerial targets and ballistic missiles, including the accurate estimation of launch and predicted impact points, IAI is proposing the Ultra-C6, which has six clusters. And for very long-range detection, there is the 300-metric-ton Ultra-C22 array with 22 ELM-2090U units.
Each radar can electronically steer its beam through +/-60 degrees in azimuth and across a 40-degree sector in elevation. In all cases, the array can be mechanically tilted through 30 degrees in elevation to provide a total elevation coverage of 70 degrees. While the single-cluster Ultra-C1 is intended for 360-degree mechanical rotation, the larger arrays are mounted on a rail assembly that can be mechanically slewed through +/100 degrees to give 320-degree coverage.