With Multi-Object Tracking Radar, India can track Pakistani Missile and Space Debris
ISRO’s MOTR is a L-Band long range AESA Radar made indigenously. It was planned in 2012 as ISRO was dependent on NASA for Debris data and had problem in rocket locating.
The radar, which is capable to track 10 different objects at a time, will help the research organisation in its future missions including the space capsule recovery, reusable launch vehicle and human space programmes along with space debris tracking to protect the space assets of the country.
Isro has completed the project of the first indigenous multi-object tracking radar, a capability which is owned by a very few countries in the world at present.
While the existing radars, which ISRO has six in its control, is capable of tracking tracking single objects and are used for tracking the launch vehicles, in order to meet the range safety requirements, it is essential to track all the targets of the launch vehicles simultaneously during nominal and non-nominal missions. The MOTR will be used to track multiple targets during ISRO’s launches from SDSC SHAR. It can also be used for vertical wind profiling.
Regular tracking of space debris is required to update the space debris catalogue and to protect the country’s space assets, the satellites from any possible collision by tacking the movement of the debris.
Unlike the normal radars with a dish antenna, the MOTR has a rectangular antenna which is stationary during operation and would radiate beam which is electronically steered to identify the objects. The rectangular antenna comprises of 192 rectangular bricks or tiles, which has a total of 4608 radiating antenna elements connected. The antenna could be rotated 360 degree and fixed vertical or horizontal angle.
It is capable of tracking long range to 50 cm X 50 cm object size at a slant range of 1000 kilometer for objects and 30 cm X 30 cm size at a slant range of 800 kilometer in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for space debris.
Our MOTR was completed as planned in 2015 and costed around Rs.245 crores , it was very cheap as in international market it cost around 800 crore and only 5 countries has capability to build it.
Apart from space the radar has immense value for military applications, particularly for air defence. Radar of this specific configuration will be suitable for ballistic missile defence. One specific capability in this regard is that it can detect and track a 50×50 cm object at a distance of 1000 km
and a 30×30 cm object at a distance of 800 km. This will enable the radar to track ballistic missiles with a range of 4000 to 5000 km.