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Written by Brian Hall
on August 05, 2021

Last month, Microwave Journal brought together a panel of experts to envision the near-future of EW, Radar and communications systems. The panel included APITech’s Chief Technology Officer, Ian Dunn, along with radar, electronic warfare and technical experts from other industry leaders.


EW and Radar Trends

Central to the discussion was a review of the larger trends shaping the architectures of next-generation electronic warfare (EW), radar and communications links for military and aerospace systems (e.g., ADCs/DACs, FPGAs, GaN, SiGe, programmability, open architectures, AI, 3D printing, miniaturization, quantum technologies. And, of course, SwaP-C: size, weight, power, and cost.

APITech’s Dunn also noted trends in sensing technologies, filtering, semiconductors and digital-analog tradeoffs. He detailed how the commercial sector is currently grappling with these issues and how they can impact and aid efforts in defense and aerospace.

Ian Dunn Head Shot 2021Dunn also noted how the “increasing levels of miniaturization” are leading to another frontier of development, as well as how APITech is addressing the “next generation of manufacturing capabilities at the higher frequencies.”

A hot topic amongst the panel was the “challenging problem” of power consumption and overall processing density, and the manufacturing science that goes into creating low noise outcomes. In addition, they discussed the impact of the new, higher frequency requirements. They also talked about the “mission functionality per watt” and its implications on manufacturing technology and filter technology. An interesting sidebar was a brief examination of the commercial drone sector, where size, weight, and power footprints are vital for a commercial, relatively affordable device, and the potential for this industry to reverberate into electronic warfare and radar advancements.

EW and Radar Questions

Electronic warfare and countermeasures demand complex signal generation and analysis, a member of the panel noted. Testing of today’s evermore complex systems – and countermeasure requirements – must evolve. There must be an effective means to test and evaluate solutions. The goal is to quickly adapt to complex threats.

If you were unable to attend the session live, you can access the video recording here. It’s worth your time. The moderator and audience had many questions for the panel, including:

  1. As applications move into the mmWave and Terahertz region, what semiconductor technologies represent the future for A&D systems?
  2. How will the industry effectively test and verify mmWave/Terahertz devices as frequencies and volumes increase?
  3. As critical systems components, what is the current state-of-the-art in low-noise sources and what are some of the enabling applications for these devices?
  4. How is RF System-in-Package (SiP) technology enabling for next-generation, heterogeneous integration platforms?
  5. Where are we in the deployment of multi-function systems that could perform EW, radar, and communications in a single system?
  6. Where are we in the development of MIMO systems?
  7. When will we see practical MIMO systems deployed and what are the challenges to do so?
  8. What are the current state-of-the-art and challenges facing the 3D or additive manufacturing for low-loss RF components?
  9. How is your company involved in quantum technologies (computing and communications) and what is your outlook for use in A&D applications?
  10. Where do we stand today in the development of a universal/programmable digital front end? Are the challenges different for radar, EW and communications?

Learn more about EW and Radar

For more than 70 years, APITech's high-reliability RF components, filters, subsystems, and microelectronics have been used in key defense, radar, and electronic warfare applications. We are ready to help. Learn more

For your questions about our MIMO test solutions, visit our page detailing our MIMO testing solutions. You can also read some recent customer success stories here, including on our quantum computing technologies and mmWave components, as well as on our applications for electronic warfare and Radar.

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