|Thales RBE-2AA radar would have about 1000 modules|
The RBE-2AA replaces the previous passive RBE-2 antenna (PESA).
The main benefits of the new active antenna are :
- greater range (up to 50%) matching the meteor range
- lower sidelobes
- Better reliability
The current RBE-2AA is using GaAs technology but more efficient GaN modules are in the pipe for the next major Mid life update of the Rafale. In a recent interview in Aviation Week, Thales head of electronic combat system, Pierre Yves Chatiel, explains that those modules, using the Thales Cloud architecture, could be used as conformal antennas on the aircraft sharing the same aperture as the main antenna. However, this will requiered between 5 and 10 years of developpement and 1 billion € of funding.
A very interresting document about Thales TRM technology is available here
Aviation Week article here
Thanks to Arthuro, olybrius and Kirtap for the sources !