Tunable Radio Frequency Absorptive Coating/Material
Navy SBIR FY2018.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2018.1
Topic No.: N181-087
Topic Title: Tunable Radio Frequency Absorptive Coating/Material
Proposal No.: N181-087-0040
Firm: Toyon Research Corp.
6800 Cortona Drive
Goleta, California 93117
Contact: Michael Gilbert
Phone: (805) 968-6787
Web Site: http://www.toyon.com
Abstract: The U.S. Navy has a strong need to reduce the Radar Cross Section (RCS) of submarine masts such as the OE-538 in order to maintain stealth during high data rate communications. The submarine mast RCS is compounded by multi-path off the sea which tends to cause increased and persistent back-scattering over a wide range of aspect angles and frequencies. To avoid the high cost of reshaping the mast, the only viable technique to reduce the RCS is to utilize radio frequency (RF) absorber. The RF absorber needs to be judiciously applied to avoid degrading the communication signals while reducing the RCS. Toyon proposes to evaluate the feasibility of its patterned absorber for application in reducing the RCS of the Navy's submarine masts. Toyonâ?Ts patterned absorber can be applied like wall-paper and covered with a protective layer to withstand the harsh operating environment of a submarine mast. The thin patterned circuit layer consists of passive resistive and conductive elements that can be readily varied over a surface (i.e. â?otuned during manufacturingâ??) using standard circuit board etching techniques. Toyon will use proven computer models to design absorbers specific to this application and then validate the predictions by testing a prototype.
Benefits: The patterned absorber developed under this project will enable reducing the RCS of the U.S. Navy's submarine mast without degrading the performance of the underlying communication antennas. The reduced RCS will lower the risk of the submarine being detected by radar while conducting high-data rate communications at periscope depth. Another application for the military sector is to mitigate near grazing multi-path for direction finding surveillance antennas that are installed near a reflecting surface. The reduced multi-path will improve the accuracy of determining the angle-of-arrival. For the commercial sector, the patterned absorber could find application to mitigate multi-path into cell phone tower antennas. The reduced multi-path would allow more freedom in locating cell-phone towers.