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Ball Aerospace to Design Next-Generation Weather Radar Antennas

Airborne Phased Array

Radar program

Ball Aerospace to Design Next-Generation Weather Radar Antennas

Ball Aerospace has been chosen to design the radio frequency front-end system for the National Center of Atmospheric Research’s Airborne Phased Array Radar program. The company and NCAR partnered in years of studies on the system. The two will now collaborate on its final proof of concept.

Designed as NCAR’s next-generation tool for critical weather data-gathering, APAR will significantly enhance the scientific capability to capture detailed observations of hurricanes and other high-impact events, Ball Aerospace said.

Upon completion, the APAR system will feature four C-band active electronically scanned arrays mounted on the National Science Foundation and NCAR’s C-130 aircraft. The system will enable flights around high-impact weather events and gather data from a safe distance.

The data gathered can serve as the foundation for improved weather prediction models, with data on structure, dynamics and microphysics taken deeper inside storms or hurricanes.

Paula Burns, Ball Aerospace vice president for tactical solutions, said APAR will be an essential tool to help protect U.S. communities from dangerous weather. 

Other participants in the APAR program include the NSF, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Colorado State University, State University of New York Stony Brook University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Oklahoma.

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Tags: Airborne Phased Array Radar APAR Program Ball Aerospace critical weather data federal civilian National Center of Atmospheric Research next-generation tool radio frequency front end system