New Google Cardboard app provides a Patriot's-eye view
If you've ever wondered what a missile-defense radar sees, here's your chance to find out.
A new Raytheon-built virtual reality app puts users on a New England hilltop, looking out onto the test range for the company's new 360-degree Global Patriot Solutions radar. The app requires a Google Cardboard viewer, a simple device that allows mobile phone users to see specially created, interactive 3-D images.
Raytheon previously used the technology to show the assembly of the first full-sized version of the array. The company is proposing the new radar as an upgrade to the system that has protected the United States and its allies for decades.
The new radar costs less to build, own and operate, and it features two technologies new to the Patriot system: A design known as active electronically scanned array, and a powerful semiconductor called gallium nitride.
With active electronically scanned array, the radar uses a system of individual transmit-receive modules, rather than a single massive transmitter. Gallium nitride, which gives radio frequency amplifiers five times the power of traditional semiconductors, allowed the radar's engineers to build in two smaller rear-facing arrays that give the system its continuous 360-degree view.
Raytheon is a pioneer in the use of gallium nitride, also known as GaN. The company spent 15 years and more than $150 million to develop the technology, putting it to use in a number of products including jammer circuits and other types of radar.