Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

AhEAD Result In Brief

Project ID: 632453
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: Italy

Safe, green flight paths avoid bad weather

Weather radar can warn pilots and navigators of bad weather and airborne hazards like volcanic dust clouds, allowing a more appropriate flightpath to be adopted. EU funded researchers explored the utility of polarimetric antenna in radar.
Safe, green flight paths avoid bad weather
Dual-polarised weather radars provide distinct advantages in terms of accuracy and versatility They have better ability to detect tornadoes and icing as well as predict rainfall, precipitation types and cloud build up. This in turn leads to better flightpath management.

Airborne radar systems face much more stringent regulations than their ground-based counterparts, especially with regard to the antenna. Moreover, dual polarisation has been demonstrated for other applications but not for a nose-mounted set up, which has extremely strict requirements.

The antenna is one of the most important components in avionic polarimetric weather radars. The AHEAD (Advanced design and testing of a polarimetric X-band antenna for avionic weather radar) project was established to demonstrate the feasibility of a polarimetric antenna in a polarimetric radar weather system for avionics.

Several antenna technologies were considered before a printed antenna was finally selected due to its low mass, low cost, high flexibility and modularity, and a well-evolved manufacturing process. In addition, this approach boasts a high degree of system integration, a large range of high quality materials for designing high-performance antenna, and good electrical performance. This design is also very promising in terms of size, weight and power due to the printed circuit technology employed.

Project partners designed a polarimetric avionic radar antenna that operated at the X-band for weather characterisation. Validation of the antenna design required two different approaches. The first analysed and demonstrated the overall performance of the antenna via numerical simulation. The second tested the performance of a prototype using suitable measurements to prove the validity of the design. Finally, a technological roadmap was developed for full device implementation.

AHEAD will provide a state-of-the-art weather threat detection system for aircraft that enables them to improve flightpaths by avoiding dangerous weather and volcanic ash, thereby increasing safety and reducing fuel consumption.

Related information

Keywords

Weather radar, antenna, dual-polarised, AHEAD, X-band
Record Number: 200141 / Last updated on: 2017-06-29
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