Antenna Array and Beamformers to Support Ka-Band Brownout Radar Systems
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-124
Topic Title: Antenna Array and Beamformers to Support Ka-Band Brownout Radar Systems
Proposal No.: N082-124-0412
Firm: BCO Inc
799 Middlesex Turnpike
Billerica, Massachusetts 01821
Contact: Martin Schrage
Phone: (978) 663-2525
Web Site:
Abstract: BCO's Phase I goal is to design an Antenna Array and Beamformer for rotorcraft to adapt to a rugged COTS radar module that is in production in lots of 10,000 for use on automobiles. This automotive radar is a K-Band unit with a phased-array antenna that can be stepped through 140 degrees in azimuth and which provides 20-inch range resolution. A chain of nine of the radar modules is capable of providing the hemispheric coverage sought for the Beamformer. The projected selling price for BCO's design is well within the $10,000 target. There is a tradeoff between range and update rate. When scanning out to 80 feet the hemisphere can be scanned at up to 125 times per second. With update rates of up to 3 times per second scanning out to 490 feet is achievable. Within our design we will develop a sidelobe blanking algorithm to reduce clutter, and extend range and coverage of beam thru broad/fan beam lens designs. Our effort will include aperture placement analysis and simulation as well as polarimetric tradeoff analysis. The success of the program will be enhanced with machine prototyping of lenses and lab testing in Phase I.
Benefits: This development has the potential for sharply reducing the rate of accidents that occur during rotorcraft approach and landing in brownout, white outs, snow and sea spray and other low visibility conditions. By scanning a hemisphere our design will not only detect and track stationary obstacles and hazards on the ground, but will also assist with maintaining a safe clearance with other aircraft in flight. Other military applications could include its use in land vehicles with restricted visibility such as tanks. Applications in civilian rotorcraft such as those servicing off-shore-oil platforms in low visibility situations may be found.