Build vs. Buy - Radar Target Generation and Electronic Warfare Simulation Test Suite Development

Giga-tronicsNearly every single Military Tactical Radar program, whether well-established and fielded for many years or under development today, needs an RF Target Generator (RTG) and Electronic Warfare (EW) Simulation test capability. The relevant questions are “How quickly can we get one?” and “Should we Build or Buy?”. The same is true for every Radar Jammer/EW program which needs a capability and testing environment to stimulate the EW system and provide a means to test and evaluate the EW system function and performance.

From an engineering perspective, most prime contractors, research institutes and government agencies have a rich but aging heritage of test
system designs. In a post-Sequestration US Defense Industry, Capabilities, Cost and Time to Test all need to be addressed. There is no longer patience nor the budget for costly closed system architectures that do not provide an easy path to upgrade as technology evolves. This can be said for both the End User and EW/Radar Program Customer as well as the Defense Contractor(s) working on both the EW and Radar programs and providing the EW and Radar T&E Environment, Capability, and Test Solution.

This paper will explore and discuss the following:

1. Historic Perspective: RF/Microwave Test Solutions; Alternatives for EW and Radar Programs
2. Technology Evolution Cycles: How old is your Test Suite?
3. Modularity & Scalability: COTS vs. Custom
4. Cost, Time and Risk Considerations for “Build vs. Buy”
5. A checklist of things to consider when making a “Build vs. Buy” decision