WP6: Test Subarray integration and compatibility verification

Work Package 6 will utilize the hardware produced by Work Package 4 and the software produced by Work Package 5 to ensure that the various subsystems are fully compatible and interoperable. Particular emphasis will be placed on ensuring that the subsystems work together as a radar system (at the sub-array level), that they do not interfere with one another (through radio frequency interference, RFI), and that the sub-array can be electronically focused properly.

A site for testing the Test Subarray will be prepared at EISCAT's Ramfjordmoen facility near Tromsø, Norway. That location has available power, a license to transmit in the EISCAT_3D frequency band, EISCAT staff to support in the preparation and testing, and access to other scientific instrumentation to be used in testing.

Activities in this work package include:

  • Site preparation
  • Test Subarray assembly
  • Operational testing
  • Calibration evaluation
  • Radar testing
PDF icon Description of Work: WP62.84 MB

WP5: Engineering-level software

Work Package 5 will develop the low-level software necessary to power on and test the Test Subarray. This includes software for the radar controller and exciter, and for the sub-array beam former. The software architecture must, however, also eventually support the operation of the entire EISCAT_3D system when additional layers are added. As a result, the engineering-level software must be designed to be both scalable and distributed. Similarly, the software interfaces and the specific programming languages must be chosen with long-term support and maintenance in mind.

Portions of the software will be provided by hardware subsystem vendors, so, in addition to actual programming, this work package will also develop interfaces to those hardware components. To some extent, the software interface development will need to be done jointly with manufacturers and this work package will perform that task.

PDF icon Description of Work: WP52.84 MB

WP4: Procurement of production-ready designs and hardware

Work Package 4 will procure, from industry, designs that are as close to final as possible. The procurement activities will be coordinated with Work Package 2 that develops iteration of the subsystem designs with considerations toward manufacturability, serviceability, reliability, energy efficiency, and cost. A primary goal is to move from the single-unit prototyping and design that was completed under the Preparatory Phase project toward a design that can be efficiently produced in a mass-production environment. This will include having industry perform all appropriate design-rule checks, ensure that electronics assemblies can be manufactured using modern, automated technologies, and ensuring that the resulting designs can be serviced and maintained in a cost effective manner over a multiple-decade time horizon. This work package includes the work procured from industry and the project office activities that are directly related to monitoring the industry contracts.

The other major coordination efforts for this work package are covered by Work Package 1 and Work Package 2.

The subsystem designs to be procured are as follows:

  • Antenna element
  • Sub-array structure
  • Instrument container (including environmental controls)
  • Front-end electronics
  • Sub-array beam former electronics
  • Pulse and steering control
  • Ancillary components and subsystems
    • Health and status monitoring and control
    • Timing distribution
    • Cables/interconnects

These subsystems will be procured, initially, as first articles for inspection and individual performance testing. Once the designs have been vetted, a sufficient number of units will be procured to populate the 91-element Test Subarray. This Test Subarray will be assembled and tested in Work Package 6.

Activities in this work package include

  • Site preparation design
  • Antenna element design
  • Support structure design
  • Instrument container design
  • Front end design
  • Beam former design
  • Pulse and steering control design
PDF icon Description of Work: WP42.85 MB

WP3: Design finalization for critical subsystems

The Design Study and Preparatory Phase projects under FP6 and FP7, respectively, brought the EISCAT_3D project very close to the point of implementation. The Preparatory Phase project, in particular, looked closely at the front end sub-array digital beam-former for the multi-beam capabilities of the overall system as this is among the most difficult subsystems to implement given currently available technologies. Full realization of the potential of EISCAT_3D pushes the state of the art in this area when both bandwidth and minimized power consumption are taken into account.

The Preparatory Phase results included several possible approaches to beam forming, all of which were shown to be technically feasible, but each with different levels of cost, complexity, power consumption, and technical availability with readily available components. This work package will make the final design decision for the sub-array beam-former based on these criteria. It will do this via both updated analysis of component availability and by contacting industry for performance estimates for the various approaches. In doing this, considerations will be given to both short term and long term costs (e.g. purchase price, energy consumption, maintenance and repair costs, etc.). Additionally, trade-offs concerning the design authority/ownership will be considered.

The activities in this work package include:

  • Engineering assessment of the possible approaches to sub-array beam-forming
  • Requests for limited demonstrations of the technological solutions from the vendors

WP2: Coordination and Outreach

Work Package 2 deals with the coordination of the technical procurement activities as well as the effective interfacing with manufacturing firms to ensure a properly vetted design for each of the sub-assemblies of the Test Subarray. The tasks needed for the project outreach are also within this work package. In addition, since this project is taking part in the Pilot on Open Research Data, the planning of the data management is also an activity in this work package.

This work package contains the following activities:

  • Kick-off meeting and technical workshop
  • Hiring a manufacturing consultant contractor
  • Development of packages of tendering documents
  • Identification of potential industry bidders
  • Development of test plans
  • Development of a data management plan
PDF icon Description of Work: WP22.84 MB

WP1: Project Management

Work Package 1 covers management of the overall project as well as financial monitoring and reporting.

This work package continues for the duration of the project. The work to be performed includes management of the project personnel, management of the project finances, interacting with vendors (including contract negotiations), and technical management of the various work packages (especially interfacing and coordination).

PDF icon Description of Work: WP12.84 MB

Timetable of Deliverables and Milestones

This is the timetable for the Deliverables and the Milestones as defined by the plan for EISCAT_3D: Preparation for Production. Other important dates in the project are also added to the timetable. A Deliverable represents a verifiable output of the project. They are denoted by Dx.y in the timetable below, where x is the number of the relevant Work Package and y is the number of the Deliverable within that Work Package. A Milestone is a control point where decisions are needed with regard to the continuation of the project. They are denoted by Mz in the timetable below, where z is the ordering number of the particular Milestone within the full project.

September 2015
Kick-off and technical meeting (M1) [OK]
Manufacturing Consultant Contractor contract signed (M2) [OK]
February 2016
First version of the data management plan (D2.1) [OK]
Technical report on approaches for sub-array beam-former (D3.1) [OK]
April 2016
Contracts signed with vendors (M3) [OK]
August 2016
End of first reporting period [OK]
November 2016
Site preparation complete (M4) [OK]
January 2017
First report on industry contracts (D4.1) [OK]
February 2017
Test plan for the Test Subarray (D2.2) [OK]
April 2017
Site preparation drawings delivered; antenna elements, structure and instrument container subsystems arrives at test site (M5) [OK]
June 2017
Front end, beam former and pulse and steering control subsystems arrives at test site (M6) [OK]
Software interface control documents (D5.1) [OK]
Project Review
July 2017
Second report on industry contracts (D4.2) [OK]
August 2017
Tendering documents, including standards and necessary supporting documentation (D2.3) [OK]
Test Subarray testing report (D6.1) [OK]
End of second reporting period
End of project

EISCAT3D_PfP in short

The goal of the project EISCAT_3D: Preparation for Production is to facilitate a smooth and swift transition of EISCAT_3D from the Preparatory Phase to its implementation. One significant challenge for this transition is the move from individual prototype subsystems to designs that are ready for immediate implementation in an industrial production environment. Additionally, these subsystems, in their near-final implementations, must operate together as a radar with compatible interfaces and without causing internal interference. The project addresses these issues via industrial outreach to ensure a manufacture-ready design and via the implementation and testing of a Test Subarray using subsystems that are as close as possible to a final configuration.

EISCAT3D_PfP will clear the way for low-risk funding by the research councils of the EISCAT associate countries and will furthermore greatly shorten the time required to see EISCAT_3D come to fruition. This project will also support the hiring of key technical personnel to shepherd the implementation of EISCAT_3D throughout its manufacturing, construction, and eventual commissioning. Project coordinator EISCAT Scientific Association has already initiated cooperation with research institutions, SMEs, large manufacturers, regional authorities, and public institutions responsible for innovation procurement. The cooperation will be further developed through the project.

EISCAT_3D: Preparation for Production has started

The project EISCAT_3D: Preparation for Production (EISCAT3D_PfP) has started. The aim of this project is to facilitate a smooth and swift transition of EISCAT_3D from its Preparatory Phase to the implementation of the EISCAT_3D radar system.

The project will reach out to industry to ensure a manufacture-ready design of the subsystems to be used in the EISCAT_3D radar system. A Test Subarray will be constructed at the EISCAT site in Ramfjordmoen to be used for testing these subsystems. The project will also support hiring of key personnel needed to oversee the implementation of the EISCAT_3D radar system through manufacturing, construction and commissioning.

EISCAT Scientific Association has received funding of 3.1 M€ for this project from the European Commission under the call H2020-INFRADEV-1-2015-1 “Individual implementation and operation of ESFRI projects” (contract number 672008).

The project starts in September 2015 and will continue until August 2017.