Radar subsystem upgrades simplified with DPCSS retrofit


Radar subsystem upgrades simplified with DPCSS retrofit


Air Navigation Services Providers (ANSP) worldwide face difficult technical and budgetary decisions: whether to upgrade or replace their radar systems with analog or digital technology.

The decision involves their existing fleet of aged analog Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar systems. Based on 1980s Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology, the lifecycle of these radars is nearing an end and they are on the brink of obsolescence.

Entirely replacing the existing ATC radar systems with new Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR) equipment is prohibitively expensive. Replacing only the key subsystems with another analog system makes litt le sense because modern digital platforms deliver significant increases in radar detection and performance.

What the ANSPs need is a modern, reliable and cost-effective retrofit subsystem that guarantees comparable (or better) radar detection and performance – without relying on obsolete SAW technology.


The team at Rakon recognized the challenge and developed the Digital Pulse Compression Sub-System (DPCSS). The solution is purpose designed for retrofitting or upgrading existing SAW based pulse compression radars. The DPCSS

delivers a remarkable improvement in overall system performance and extends the life of the ATC radar systems.

Since the DPCSS is form, fit and function compatible with the old analog sub-system, existing radars are able to be upgraded very quickly.

Due to a powerful and scalable Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based digital technology, the radar performance achieved was close to the theoretical limits, enabling improved aircraft detection. The DPCSS’s performance

improvements include the following: a higher instantaneous dynamic range (5dB improvement in side lobes), higher accuracy angular measurements (main lobe without base widening), higher flexibility (programmable parameters

enabling customizati on in waveforms and soft ware upgrades) and repeatable performance from one device to the other – as well as across the full operating temperature range.


Rakon’s DPCSS has become the leading solution to fulfil the growing demand for radar maintenance and life extension in almost all countries requiring a retrofit solution. The DPCSS delivers increased performance, simplified maintenance and extends the life of analog ATC radars.

As a key technology partner with lengthy radar retrofit experience, Rakon is also able to provide additional embedded functions, including the following: signal generation in the CoHo/RFLO/STALO, IF amplification, pulse compression and detection at the receiver.