Small-sized station MBRLS-MF2 developed by "Fazotron-NIIR" and SC SRSiM MAI. Photo Bastion-opk.ru
In some situations, a modern ground-based robotic complex (RTK) or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) requires radar equipment. Due to objective limitations, such radar stations (radars) should be light in weight and small in size. Currently, several similar products are being created in our country at once, and in the foreseeable future they can be brought to actual use.
The existence of one of these projects became known the other day. On March 4, the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper published an interview with the head of the Era technopolis, Lieutenant General Vladimir Ivanovsky. The topic of conversation was the current and future work of the technopolis.
General Ivanovsky said that now in the "Era" research is being carried out on the topic of multifunctional software radar of small dimensions and mass. The initiator of this project was the High Command of the VKS.
The characteristics and other features of the promising radar remained unsolved. It is specified that the station will be suitable for use on various samples of military equipment. Small reconnaissance UAVs will be able to carry it as a reconnaissance vehicle. It also provides for the use of radars on ground-based RTKs - in this case, it will perform the functions of the so-called. technical vision.
Information on the possibility of using radar on small UAVs allows you to determine its approximate size and weight. So, the modern lightweight Orlan-10 UAV is capable of carrying a payload of no more than a few liters and weighing up to 5 kg. Now this drone is one of the main examples of its class in the Russian army, and it is entirely possible that new equipment is being developed taking into account precisely its capabilities.
Aviation Radar H010 "Beetle-AE". Does the product weigh more than 240-250 kg and occupy almost the entire nose of the carrier? which does not allow its use on light and medium aircraft. Wikimedia Commons Photos
In addition to air platforms, the new radars will be able to carry ground, and in their case it will be not only a means of reconnaissance. In this context, dimensions and mass retain their significance, but new requirements arise related to the specifics of the radar on the ground. Thus, the design of a universal station for air and ground systems, with all the expected benefits, is quite complicated.
In the case of its successful implementation, the army will be able to gain new opportunities. So, existing and promising UAVs can be equipped not only with optical, but also with radar reconnaissance equipment - with a clear increase in operational efficiency. Similarly, the potential of ground-based RTKs will increase.
Nevertheless, all of these possibilities remain a matter of the future. The small-sized radar project from Era is at the research stage, and the completion date has not yet been announced. It can be assumed that after the recent announcement, the project will not be hidden, and in the near future its results will be announced. In particular, it cannot be ruled out that the radar or its elements will be shown at the future Army 2020 exhibition.
Novelty of the past
Radar from the "Era" is not the only domestic development of its kind. A few years ago, a similar project was presented by the Fazotron-NIIR Corporation (part of the Radioelectronic Technologies Concern) and the Scientific Center for Special Radioelectronic Systems and Management of the Moscow Aviation Institute (Scientific Center SRSiM MAI). Their small-sized station was designated MBRLS-MF2.
Design work on the MBRLS-MF2 product was carried out at the beginning of the last decade. In 2012, the station was first shown to the public at one of the specialized exhibitions. At the end of the year, an experienced radar successfully passed tests at the stand. At the beginning of 2013, developers announced their readiness to move to the flight test stage. A few months after this, the prototype was shown at the MAKS-2013 exhibition.
Light UAV "Orlan-10" - one of the main examples of its class in the Russian army. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru
It was reported that some domestic manufacturers of aviation and unmanned equipment became interested in the MBRLS-MF2 station. In early 2014, the developers claimed that this radar could soon become part of the onboard equipment of one of the promising UAVs. What drone could become the carrier MBRLS-MF2 - is unknown. Since 2016, new reports on the progress of this project have not been received.
The MBRLS-MF2 product is a small-sized lightweight digital radar operating in the Ka- and X-band. In a complete set, the station has a mass of not more than 55-60 kg. There is a possibility of delivery in a modified configuration - with one of two radio modules. A radar with an X-band unit weighs 35 kg, with a Ka-band module - approx. 23 kg Such indicators allow the station to be used on various aircraft, helicopters or UAVs of medium or heavy class.
Depending on the range used and other factors, the range of MBRLS-MF2 reaches 160 km. Provides linear resolution up to 0,25 m and the ability to detect objects moving at low speed. It has been argued that the radar computing complex has excess performance - the stock of its characteristics can be used for further modernization.
The promising small-sized radar MBRLS-MF2 from Fazotron-NIIR and the SRSiM MAI Scientific Center is of certain interest in the context of the development of manned and unmanned aircraft. It is many times smaller and lighter than other modern stations, but it is able to show the required characteristics. However, a weight of 23 to 60 kg, depending on the configuration, may limit the range of potential carriers.
Promising heavy UAV S-70 "Hunter". This technique also needs an airborne radar. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru
At the time of the appearance of MBRLS-MF2 in our country there were no own UAVs capable of carrying it. It was reported on the development of a project to integrate such a radar into the equipment complex of an unnamed drone, but no new data was received on this subject. To date, the media situation has changed. Several heavy UAVs have been developed, the carrying capacity of which allows the use of the MBRLS-MF2 product. However, the prospects for this radar are foggy. Perhaps the project will no longer be developed.
Prospects for Directions
The development of small-sized light radars for various aviation and ground equipment is already underway in our country, but this direction cannot yet be called developed and active. Only a few projects of this kind are known that have not yet been brought to practical use. However, the situation may change in the very near future, as a result of which promising projects will have a significant impact on the development of the UAV and RTK areas.
For obvious reasons, the most interesting from the point of view of practical application are the radars of the type being developed in the Era technopolis. However, larger products with different characteristics, such as MBRLS-MF2, can also find application: this is facilitated by the progress of recent years in the field of unmanned aircraft.
It can be assumed that in the foreseeable future, the promising direction of small-sized radars will be developed and will lead to new results suitable for practical application. This is facilitated by the availability of the necessary elemental base and technologies, the extensive industry experience in the field of radar and some interest from potential operators, expressed as a real order.