Power Supplies in Military Radar Systems: Reliability, Resilience, and Efficiency

Published: 20 September 2023

Power Supplies in Military Radar Systems: Reliability, Resilience, and Efficiency


Military radar systems are indispensable components of modern defence strategies, enabling the detection and tracking of aircraft, missiles, ships, vehicles, and even personnel. These systems operate in diverse environments, from arctic cold to desert heat, and often need to function during power fluctuations or disruptions. The power supply infrastructure for military radar systems is, therefore, a critical aspect of their design, ensuring uninterrupted and reliable operation. This article explores the key factors involved in designing power supplies for military radar systems.

Design Considerations:

Robustness and Reliability: Military radar systems must function flawlessly even in the harshest conditions. Power supplies need to be designed and manufactured with components that can withstand temperature extremes, vibration, shock, and electromagnetic interference. Redundancy and fault tolerance mechanisms are essential to ensure continued operation in case of component failures.

EMI/RFI Filtering: Electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) can disrupt radar performance. Power supplies are equipped with advanced EMI/RFI filtering to minimize these interferences, allowing the radar to maintain accurate and clear signals.

Efficiency and Power Density: Military radar systems are often deployed in remote or mobile settings where power availability might be limited. Power supplies should be designed for high efficiency to minimize energy consumption and reduce heat dissipation. Compact and high-power-density designs are favoured to save space and weight, crucial for mobile and airborne radar platforms.

Transient Response: Rapid changes in power demand, such as during radar pulse transmission, require power supplies with excellent transient response capabilities. This ensures that the system receives consistent power, preventing fluctuations that could affect radar performance.

Technologies Employed:

Switch-Mode Power Supplies (SMPS): SMPS are commonly used in military radar systems due to their high efficiency, compact size, and versatility. They can handle varying input voltages and provide stable output voltages even under demanding conditions.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS): In critical radar applications, UPS systems are employed to provide continuous power during grid failures or transient disruptions. These systems use energy storage elements like batteries or ultracapacitors to bridge the gap between power loss and backup generators coming online.

DC-DC Converters: Military radar systems often require multiple voltage levels to power different subsystems. DC-DC converters efficiently step up or step down voltages as needed, ensuring optimal power distribution throughout the system.

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The DAA500 Series from Powerbox


Reliability and Redundancy:

Reliability is paramount in military radar systems. Power supplies are often equipped with redundant components, hot-swappable modules, and built-in self-test mechanisms. These features allow for continuous operation even in the presence of failures or maintenance activities.

Resilience and Adaptability:

Military radar systems are subject to dynamic operational environments. Power supplies need to be adaptable to different power sources, whether from generators, vehicle power systems, or fixed power grids. Additionally, power supplies should have protective measures to handle power surges, voltage spikes, and frequency fluctuations.

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