The latest phased array radar and communications systems being developed for Actively Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), 5G and Tactical communications are following trends of higher frequency operation and physical densification. With greater numbers of antenna elements, transmit/receive modules, antenna processors, and other analog/hybrid/digital beam-forming modules in a single phased array antenna system, additional RF interconnect design considerations emerge. These new designs involve fitting a greater number of RF connectors and cable assemblies that also house more integrated PCBs that support analog, digital, and RF circuits. Reducing the size, weight, cost, and installation complexity of RF interconnects must also be considered.
This article aims to educate engineers and industry professionals working with phased array antenna systems for radar and the new design considerations and solutions that help mitigate the challenges associated with building the next generation of phased array radar.