Pakistan’s First Phased Array Radar
Capital University of Science & Technology, Islamabad is proud to be at the forefront of the National Research Scene. Controls and Signal Processing Research (CASPR), being an integral part of CUST has lived up to the high standards set by the CUST leaders. This glittering image has recently been refreshed by the successful field trial of Pakistan s first ever Phased Array Radar to be used for Air Surveillance.
As seen in the movies and real life, normal radars are seen to be moving rotating ones. However, the modern radars do not employ this rotation concept anymore. Rather they move their radio beams electronically. This is a very challenging concept as you need the accuracy of one billionth of a second in electronic precision which is phenomenal. This is part of the reason such a technology was considered a long shot in Pakistan.
Ten years ago, based on the previous radar experience, Prof Aamer Iqbal Bhatti at CUST and one of his former PhD student at a Government Organization came up with a plan to design and develop a working prototype of a Phased Array Radar. The Organization approved the funding and Prof Bhatti gathered the most effective team for this project.
In the following years, Prof Bhatti designed the overall Radar System and assigned various subsystems to the best experts in Pakistan. Dr Inam Ilahi Rana at Bismillah Electronics, a legend in Microwave in Pakistan, took charge of the microwave side. Renzym, an upcoming company in signal processing, run by Prof Bhatti’s former students, developed the signal processing solution.
Unfortunately, due to regime changes, the project went to back burner at the sponsor side. Soon, the project ran into financial difficulties but Prof Bhatti and his colleagues kept the project alive. First successful field testing was done on MAJU Roof Top in 2011. Despite this success, the financial problems lingered on. Alhamdulillah, Renzym and Bismillah Electronics had unfaltered trust in Prof Bhatti and the project carried on.
By 2016, all the circuits and signal processing was ready and need to be tested together. Fortunately, the sponsor devoted a very good testing team whose day and night efforts with Prof Bhatti and the project partners carried on for one whole year and today all of us are proudly standing before our Nation.
The Project team is greatly indebted to the management at CUST, especially, Prof Mansoor Ahmed for giving the project complete facilitation at the campus.
The phased array technology is in Pakistan s grasp now. The major potential beneficiaries of this technology are the forces of Pakistan including but not limited to Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy. Now the bottle neck of having a phased array radar in Pakistan Defense is not a technical one any more, rather it is more of a matter of changing mind sets. Perhaps, this is an even bigger challenge!