X-band radars are utilised for various operations such as long-range surveillance & alarming systems for applications in defence, and at airports to control air-traffic. Basically there are two types of x-band radars- mobile and sea-based. Generally mobile x-band radars are deployed in coastal areas and aircrafts, and sea-based x-band radars are mounted on floating tower which is attached in the sea. X-band radars usually operate in frequency range 8-13 GHz. These are comparatively more prevalent than other radars owing to their military applications.
World’s Largest Sea-based X-band Radar: SBX-1
SBX-1 is deemed to be the world’s largest sea-based x-band radar, property of the U.S. Navy. Some are aware of this awesome ocean-going platform comprised in the inventory of U.S. Navy Pacific Command. SBX-1 is capable of travelling anywhere on the oceans across the globe at 8-9 knots, remaining indefinitely on stations for tracking enemy aircraft and missiles. Home ported in the Adak Island- Alaska, SBX-1 spends most of its time in waters surrounding Hawaii. Around $900 million was invested for building this vessel, which is crewed by 86 civilian & military personnel.
A self-propelled and floating mobile radar station, SBX-1 is designed for operating in heavy seas and high winds. A part of Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD) of the United States Defence Department’s Missile Defence Agency, SBX-1 is mounted on 5th generation CS-50 semi-submersible twin-hulled drilling rig. Conversion of vessel took place in Brownsville, Texas at AmFELS yard. The radar mount was constructed and mounted on vessel in Ingleside, Texas at Kiewit yard near Corpus Christi.
Growing Needs for Advanced Security & Surveillance System Expected to Fuel Market Growth
The global x-band radar market is projected to register a sluggish growth at 3.8% CAGR during the forecast 2016-2026, according to a report by Future Market Insights (FMI). The growth of the market is primarily driven by increasing necessity of advanced security & surveillance systems around the world. Government across the globe currently seek 24/7 security & surveillance for safeguarding people of their country from both internal as well as external threats. This has resulted into development of advanced security & surveillance systems by vendors of aerospace & defence equipment, capable of detecting threats from long distances, and differentiating decoy from potential threats. Integral part of surveillance & navigation systems, radars integrated into these systems can be deployed anywhere- aircrafts, borders, coasts, seas, etc. For example in February 2016, the SYERS-2 radar was launched by Northrop Grumman for catering to security & intelligence necessities of the U.S. government.
Diversity of Targets Foreseen be a Major Restraining Factor in Growth of Market
One of the factors restraining the market growth is diversity of targets. Residing in close proximity with ground, it is imperative for x-band radars to detect various targets which include pop-up, surface, or airborne targets from nearby land area. For instance, different kinematics & physical traits are possessed by small fast crafts, low-flying unmanned aerial vehicle, helicopters, and submarine periscopes, utilised for different missions. Diversity of targets therefore limits the capabilities of x-band radars while detecting them. In addition, x-band radars have an extremely narrow (25 degrees) field of vision as compared to conventional radars which have the range of 90-120 degrees. This is expected to be a major factor restraining the growth of the global x-band radar market in the near future.