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Harris Corporation Successfully Combines Power of Adjacent Wideband Phased Arrays Using COTS Technology


WASHINGTON, DC, October 23, 2006 — Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) today announced that it has successfully performed digital coherent aperture combining of wideband phased array antennas using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. Harris systems engineer Tom Oliver presented details of this breakthrough achievement as part of a technical panel discussion entitled “COTS Is Ready for Wideband Data Links and SATCOM Processing” conducted today at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC as part of MILCOM 2006 (Harris Booth #413).

“Phased array antennas are the technology of choice for communications and radar because of their ability to simultaneously communicate with multiple targets without depending on moving parts,” said Oliver. “However, until today, the high cost associated with this technology has greatly restricted its application. This new capability reflects our ongoing commitment to making the most advanced communications technologies more affordable for our customers.”

A major contributor to the high cost of phased arrays is the loss of signal gain as the arrays are steered off center, resulting in the phased array architecture containing either very large apertures with a vast number of elements, or multiple smaller apertures. In either case, the greater the number of elements in the system design, the higher the cost.

Harris has devised a methodology of high-bandwidth, coherent panel combining that will drastically reduce the cost of phased array antenna technology. By coherently combining the energy of adjacent phased array apertures, the Harris system compensates for the loss of signal gain as the individual apertures steer off center. As a result, the size and/or number of phased array apertures, as well as their corresponding element counts, can be significantly reduced, in some cases by as much as 50 percent.

Other advantages of the scaleable Harris approach: (1) it is independent of the RF elements that comprise the phased array; (2) the architecture can be configured for use in improving the performance of existing phased array systems; and (3) the technique can be used to combine irregularly spaced fixed antennas into phased arrays.

The COTS platform is supplied by Mercury Computer Systems, Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and features a receive-only version of the recently announced Mercury EVC4-RFT Wideband Remote Fiber Transceiver, combined with a mature Mercury RACE++ processing platform containing both FPGA-based and PowerPC compute nodes. The EVC4-RFT is a mixed-signal module with the unique capability to coordinate data streams to and from sets of spatially distributed sensors.

Harris Government Communications Systems Division conducts advanced research studies, develops prototypes, and produces and supports state-of-the-art, assured communications™ solutions and information systems that solve the mission-critical challenges of its military and government customers, while serving as the technology base for the company’s diverse commercial businesses. Harris Corporation is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. With headquarters in Melbourne, Florida, the company has annual sales of $3.5 billion and nearly 14,000 employees, including 6,000 engineers and scientists. The company’s four operating divisions serve markets for government communications, RF communications, broadcast communications, and microwave communications. For more information, visit


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