"ADA has integrated DRDO's UTTAM Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) on TEJAS MK-1 and completed nearly 125 flights with the advanced radar," said Dr Jadhav in an interview with renowned defence journalist Anantha Krishnan M. He also mentioned that ADA has completed air to air and air to ground performance of the radar.

Today, the UTTAM radar is functioning on par with imported radar and the performance is better in certain parameters. ADA has already given hardware clearance for production. Production can go concurrently till few tests are pending and hopefully we are expecting by 41st aircraft UTTAM will be ready ,and there are plans to integrate more." he further added.

The AESA radar will significantly boost the TEJAS’s war fighting capability.

AESA Radar

The AESA radar has its own benefits when compared to a PESA radar. The AESA radar uses phased array antennas with transmit/receive (T/R) modules dedicated to each element. PESA radar systems use a single T/R module that is shared across all antenna elements. AESA radar systems can scan a volume of space faster and more reliably than radar that is mechanically steered. Further AESA radars are jam proof.

The HAL-supplied ELM-2052 AESA radar will be installed on the first 40 TEJAS MK-1A fighter jets, while the Uttam AESA FCR will be installed on later batches. It is anticipated that the switch to the Uttam AESA FCR will happen in 2026–2027, following the completion of 40 TEJAS MK-1A fighter jet manufacturing, according to a report by Indian Defence Analysis.

Compared to the ELM-2052 AESA radar, the Uttam AESA FCR has better tracking accuracy, a longer detection range, and enhanced electronic warfare capabilities. For comparison while ELM-2052 can track 64 targets, Uttam AESA radar can track 100 targets. In 2015 Uttam was stated to be capable of tracking a target having RCS of 2m square at a distance of 92 kilometers. According to the new reports, the range has been increased to 150 kilometers for the target of the same RCS. Uttam has also been able to track Tejas from a range of 140 km which is quite significant as TEJAS is smallest fighter jet in its category and has good stealth characteristics due to the usage of composite.

The Uttam AESA radar version for TEJAS MK-1A will feature 912 T/R modules. Uttam is a full solid-state Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) based active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

Additionally, Uttam AESA radar has LPI i.e. low-probability-of-intercept feature. The LPI will enable fighter jets to employ counter measures to avoid detection by passive radar detection equipment while it is searching for a target or engaged in target tracking.

Our Bureau