Avian Radar Maintenance: Magnetron Life Assessment
Magnetrons are a critical component of current avian radar technologies, providing avian radar systems with the radio energy that is transmitted and received to identify targets. The current avian radar systems used in an avian radar performance assessment use X-band marine radars that are based on magnetron technology. Manufacturers recommend regular replacement of magnetrons to maintain radar detection effectiveness. The University of Illinois Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT) examined the operational life of magnetrons in 12 avian radar systems deployed as a part of an avian radar performance assessment program. Based on typical marine radar use, manufacturers recommend replacing magnetrons between 2,000 and 6,000 transmitting hours. However, CEAT found that magnetrons used in avian radar typically could be used for 12,000 hours of continuous operation before needing replacement. Therefore, CEAT recommends that avian radar users schedule magnetron replacement at approximately 12,000–15,000 hours, or every 18–24 months.
Authors: Wendell Bunch and Edwin E. Herricks