WDM Based True Time Delay Array for Advanced RF Beamforming
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-167
Topic Title: WDM Based True Time Delay Array for Advanced RF Beamforming
Proposal No.: N082-167-0714
Firm: Agiltron Corporation
15 Cabot Road
Woburn, Massachusetts 01801-1003
Contact: Guanhai Jin
Phone: (781) 935-1200
Web Site: http://www.agiltron.com
Abstract: An innovative concept for a scalable true time delay (TTD) array for digital beamforming is proposed. The concept is photonics and fiber optic wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) based and will support transmit/receive applications over the 1 to 20 GHz, extendable up to V bands. The design provides a digitally controlled true time delay array for beamforming effectively adaptive to Navy phased array radars and RF communications in any portion of RF spectral coverage. The Phase I approach will develop the photonic WDM true time delay array and demonstrate the key characteristics followed by a Phase II Program that will optimize the design and demonstrate full functioning 2x4 or 4x4 array of TTD for beamforming. Agiltron is working closely with BAE Systems on this unconventional approach leveraging our recent breakthroughs in manufacturing high performance fiber delay lines and fiber optic WDM technologies. The proposed approach overcomes the deficiencies associated with electronic beam forming components, offering frequency independent performance by controlling the phase and amplitude in a small, lightweight package with minimal power consumption. Our approach provides unprecedented performance in terms of scalability to large array, wide dynamic range, and fast dynamic reconfigurability.
Benefits: The proposed program will develop a Photonic Digital beamformer, True Time Delay Design, that can support applications for a wide range of phased array RF radars and communications applications. A single design supports the RF circuitry needed for various radar types and is scalable and can be adapted to varying levels of pointing accuracy. No unique calibration or effects of frequency of operation occur with the proposed technical approach. The proposed beamformer has application to aviation, weather radar and radio-astronomy. Variable optical delays have potential applications in both optical data networks and optical logic circuits. The applications involve synchronizing internal components of such networks and logic circuits to external data streams and other internal components, respectively. One potential application of such delays is the construction of packet-switched optical networks. Variable optical delay can also be used to compensate polarization mode dispersion in high-speed data transmission, which will be a major network function, as the speed migrates to 40 GHz.