Ultra Wideband Conformal Antennas for Network Enabled Weapons
Navy SBIR 2010.3 - Topic N103-204
NAVAIR - Mrs. Janet McGovern - navair.sbir@navy.mil
Opens: August 17, 2010 - Closes: September 15, 2010

N103-204 TITLE: Ultra Wideband Conformal Antennas for Network Enabled Weapons

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors, Electronics, Battlespace, Weapons

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA-242 Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Weapon Program

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 3.5.b.(7) of the solicitation.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate conformal antennas suitable for a number of existing missile airframes which are capable of transmitting and receiving an ultra wide bandwidth of frequencies.

DESCRIPTION: Innovative conformal antenna designs are being sought which are capable of operating in two specific bands of interest. The lower band covers the frequencies of 30 Mega Hertz (MHz) to 1000 MHz (the first Radio Frequency (RF) port) and the other band covers 960 MHz to 2000 MHz (the second RF port).

Current weapon antennas are confined to narrow bands and are directional. Software Defined Radios (SDR) are becoming the choice for data terminals for weapons. SDRs avoid costs associated with hardware changes for weapons that are in storage for up to 20 years. To allow the upgrades to SDRs, comparable antennas are needed to allow new spectrum utilization. Also, the Network Enabled Weapons (NEW) need to operate in an omni-directional environment to allow simultaneous link completion with as many network nodes as is possible.

Conformal antennas are needed to mount on existing missile bodies. The introduction of new antennas cannot produce new aero structures as that would force redesign of propulsion systems, force redesign of control surfaces, and force expensive recertification of the airframe. These antennas will be installed on existing airframes. The fundamental designs will need to scale to be accommodated on multiple missile airframes. The following are design goals for the conformal antennas:
Size - Conformal, with depths less than 0.7 inch. The anticipated missile diameters will range from a minimum of 9 inches to a maximum of 21 inches.
Weight - These antennas will need to be retrofitted on existing airframes. The combined weight of the antennas cannot exceed 5 lbs.
Bandwidth - Two bands are of interest. The lower band covers 100 MHz to 1000MHz and the other covers 960 MHz to 2000 MHz. The Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR) needs to be equal to or less than 2:1.
Antenna Pattern - Threshold: Less than 2 decibel isotropic (dBi) variance Goal: Omni over the entire bandwidth. Antenna gains for legacy waveforms will need to be the same or better than existing antennas. Polarization - Vertical relative to skin of weapon airframe.
Materials - Temperatures need to withstand high speed (supersonic) flight and need to be highly repeatable for manufacturing purposes.
Power - This is a transceiver and both antennas will need to handle a nominal power of 90 Watts with a maximum of 125 Watts.
Structural - The installation of the antennas cannot degrade the structural integrity of the weapon all up round. Ideally, it would not be a stressed airframe component. Analysis will need to be done to show that it will not degrade structural integrity.

PHASE I: Demonstrate proof of concept antenna design using modeling and simulation to characterize the performance of the antenna relative to the design goals listed above.

PHASE II: Based on the results from Phase I, design a prototype conformal antenna and demonstrate its performance in a laboratory environment.

PHASE III: Develop an engineering model of the antenna and integrate with a notional missile. The goal is the Advanced Anti Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) and flight test with Office of Naval Research (ONR) Weapons Data Link (WDL) terminal.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: This has application to commercial airlines and emerging Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) markets.

Concepts are maturing in the industry for networking airliners together in flight to do in-flight autonomous flight path deconfliction, route optimization, and fuel consumption optimization. Similar requirements exist for long term viability (20 to 40 years) of antennas without having to reintegrate new antennas every time a new frequency spectrum is utilized.

UAVs are networked and have a similar set of requirements to ensure RF connectivity is maintained during the vehicle's mission.

1. Zhao, Y.H., Xu, J.P., & Yin, K. (2008). Dual band-notched ultra-wideband microstrip antenna using asymmetrical spurlines. Electronics Letters, vol.44, no.18, pp.1051-1052. doi: 10.1049/el:20081695

2. Yao, Z.F., Wang, X., Zhou, S.G., Sun, L., Sun, B.H., & Liu, Q.Z. (2008). A novel dual band-notched ultra-wideband slot antenna. Antennas, Propagation and EM Theory, ISAPE 2008. 8th International Symposium on, pp.66-69. doi: 10.1109/ISAPE.2008.4735141

3. Taeyoung, Yang, Davis, W.A., & Stutzman, W.L. (2005). Folded-notch dual band ultra-wideband antenna. Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium 2005, IEEE, vol.1B, pp.520-523. doi: 10.1109/APS.2005.1551608

4. Kramer, B.A., Lee, M., Chen, C.-C., & Volakis, J.L. (2006). Miniature UWB Conformal Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium 2006, IEEE, pp.3693-3696. doi: 10.1109/APS.2006.1711423

5. Kramer, B.A., Ming, Lee, Chi-Chih, Chen, & Volakis, J.L. (2005). UWB miniature antenna limitations and design issues. Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium, 2005 IEEE, vol.3A, pp. 598-601.
doi: 10.1109/APS.2005.1552323

6. Loffler, D., Gschwendtner, E., & Wiesbeck, W. (1999). Design and measurement of conformal antennas on cylindrical and spherical geometries. AFRICON, 1999 IEEE , vol.2, pp.1005-1010.
doi: 10.1109/AFRCON.1999.821909

7. Waller, Lt Col Steve. DARPA Net Centric Programs Quint Networking Technology (QNT). http://www.darpa.mil/IPTO/programs/qnt/docs/QNT_Overview.ppt

8. Larratt, Doug. Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2009gunmissile/AARGM.pdf

KEYWORDS: Ultra Wideband Antennas; Weapons Data Link; Quint Networking Technology; Tactical Targeting Network Technology; Antenna; Weapon

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