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In order to reduce complexity, costs and efforts for transmit-receive-module (TRM) testing, Rohde & Schwarz concentrates on test and measurement solutions to maximize performance of active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar designs with high precision instruments and automation of complex test scenarios. Using the R&S ZVAX-TRM signal conditioning unit, all tests run automatically without external intervention, including port multiplexing.

Modern AESA radars are a strong focal point of the global aerospace and defence industry. The performance of state-of-the-art AESA radar systems depends to a significant degree on performance of the individual TRM assembled in the antenna array. Rohde & Schwarz offers new test and measurement solutions for TRM performance validation, enabling customers to maximize radar system capabilities.

Typical TRM test cases can be covered with a single network analyzer as a turnkey solution, such as the R&S ZNA. If higher performance – such as the pulsed noise figure – is required, the R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer is added to the setup. When combined with the integrated calibration routine, this simplifies the setup, ensuring full accuracy and high repeatability. Users benefit from reduced test procedure complexity and a minimized cabling assembly.

The R&S TS6 TRM test library optimizes test equipment for top speeds, in combination with fast control handover. Due to fast frequency sweeps and multiple measurements within a single pulse, the number of required TRM state changes is reduced and overall test time minimized. The calibration routine in the test library is a special feature. It collects all the calibration requirements from the test and runs an optimized precise calibration. The support of multiport calibration units enables the efficient calibration of devices under test (DUT) with many ports. This combination of a simplified test setup with a high degree of automation ensures reliable and reproducible measurements by a scalable solution. It offers a variety of use cases, from manual testing of components to complete module characterization in development and to automated production testing.

As time is of the essence, Rohde & Schwarz has developed solutions which reduce the number of parallel running systems during production by their efficiency. The TS6 TRM test library, together with the TS6710 TRM radar test system, deliver the fastest possible speeds for TRM testing, in combination with a fast handover between measurement and device programming. A typical test time for a complete TRM characterization can be reduced from hours – required by legacy TRM test systems – to only a few minutes.

The parameters of TRM designs are radar-specific and are considered confidential. Each TRM must be controlled by a specific interface, protocol and trigger for testing. The TS6 TRM test library has an open software interface for TRM control, which makes it possible that the whole test configuration can be carried out locally. This also allows faster on-site adaptations and optimizations. An efficient option is the CompactTSVP test system versatile platform with flexible and fast control interfaces, plus digital and analogue measurements. This configuration enables very short test times in setups, without any field-programmable gate array programming.

The ZVAX-TRM signal conditioning unit. (Photo: Rohde & Schwarz)

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