In the next few years, a new radar is planned to be built near Irkutsk. It should have capabilities of incoherent scatter (IS) radars and mesosphere-stratosphere-troposphere (MST) radars [Zherebtsov et al., 2011]. The IS-MST radar is a phased array of two separated antenna panels with a multichannel digital receiving system, which allows detailed space-time processing of backscattered signal. This paper describes characteristics, configuration, and capabilities of the antenna and transceiver systems of this radar. We estimate its potential in basic operating modes to study the ionosphere by the IS method at heights above 100 km and the atmosphere with the use of signals scattered from refractive index fluctuations, caused by turbulent mixing at heights below 100 km. The modeling shows that the radar will allow us to regularly measure neutral atmosphere parameters at heights up to 26 km as well as to observe mesosphere summer echoes at heights near 85 km in the presence of charged ice particles (an increase in Schmidt number) and mesosphere winter echoes at heights near 65 km with increasing background electron density. Evaluation of radar resources at the IS mode in two height ranges 100–600 and 600–2000 km demonstrates that in the daytime and with the accumulation time of 10 min, the upper boundaries of electron density and ionospheric plasma temperature are ~1500 and ~1300 km respectively, with the standard deviation of no more than 10 %. The upper boundary of plasma drift velocity is ~1100 km with the standard deviation of 45 m/s. The estimation of interferometric capabilities of the MST radar shows that it has a high sensitivity to objects of angular size near 7.5 arc min, and its potential accuracy in determining target angles can reach 40 arc sec.
Incoherent scatter radar, MST radar, Phased array, Atmospheric radar potential, Ionosphere, Atmosphere
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