Low Profile antenna for Multi-Band (X, Ku, and Ka SATCOM) including potential option for Ku band Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL)
Navy SBIR 2014.1 - Topic N141-015
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - [email protected]
Opens: Dec 20, 2013 - Closes: Jan 22, 2014

N141-015 TITLE: Low Profile antenna for Multi-Band (X, Ku, and Ka SATCOM) including potential option for Ku band Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL)

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Battlespace


RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted". The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a low-profile, lightweight, high bandwidth Multi-Band (X, Ku, and Ka SATCOM) including potential option for Ku band Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) with the same effective radiated power as standard size antennas.

DESCRIPTION: There is a need for a low profile antenna for Multi-Band (X, Ku, and Ka SATCOM) including potential option for Ku band Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) capable of operating at bandwidths up to 14 Megabits per second (MBS) while maintaining the same effective radiated power as standard size antenna apertures. Standard size satellite antennas have a greater height projection which creates greater aerodynamic drag. An antenna with a lower outward projection that does not sacrifice antenna gain does not currently exist. A successful antenna could be used for "through the rotor" helicopter applications on Vertical Take-off Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAVs) and other manned helicopters. An antenna design incorporating antenna diversity feature for dual antenna operations which would allow for continuous availability "without interruption" of data rates during all aspects of aircraft maneuvering is desired.

The target weight of a X/Ku/Ka SATCOM Aircraft system (antenna, radome, modem and power amplifiers - excluding aircraft unique supporting structure) is 35 pounds or less for each antenna system. An antenna aperture diameter of 18 inches is the maximum allowable due to size constraints. Radome vertical height cannot exceed 15 inches. There is a need for X, Ku, and Ka modes to be reconfigurable during flight. Design solution must account for losses (forward and return gain) when going through the rotors. Modem type and whether the modem design is intended for through the rotor applications should be specified (prototype modems are sufficient). It is understood that design trades may yield higher weights if a TCDL capability was to be incorporated into this antenna system (in addition to multi band X/Ka/Ku SATCOM).

PHASE I: Develop an initial concept design of an antenna system which is capable of dual antenna diversity tracking and model results on a VTUAV helicopter (Bell 407). Demonstrate feasibility of the concept to meet the objectives of this SBIR.

PHASE II: Develop diversity tracking capability and identify any hardware architecture required to interface two separate antenna systems. Perform ground demonstration with rotors turning on a rotary wing aircraft (A Bell 407 aircraft is desirable ). Government may not be able to provide a test asset so the Offeror will have to provide a suitable test asset with their plan.

Demonstrate Diversity tracking on 2 antennas mounted under the aircraft on a test stand with rotors turning during aircraft ground test. (One of these antennas needs to be the antenna developed as part of this effort. The 2nd antenna can be a surrogate to show proof of concept).

PHASE III: Perform flight demonstration of the antenna system (with diversity tracking) while showing near continuous data exchange and minimized interruption of video signal. Transition to an appropriate platform.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Commercial aviation could benefit from dual band low-profile antenna given they share the same band in some cases

1. Cavalier, M.D., & Shea, D. (1997). ANTENNA SYSTEM FOR MULTI-BAND SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS. Tomorrow´┐Żs Communications Today! Retrieved from http://www.overwatch.com/assets/pdfs/satcom_whitepapers/milcom97.pdf

2. Baddeley, A. Going Global with Ka-Band SATCOM. Cost and Footprint Advantages Spur Growing Interest Among Military Users and Industry Providers. Retrieved from http://www.inmarsatgov.com/uploadedFiles/About/News_and_Events/MIT_Going_Global_Ka-Band_SATCOM.pdf

3. Welsh, P. (2011) Antenna Can Help Speed Communications. Hanscom Air Force Base. Retrieved from http://www.hanscom.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123281236

KEYWORDS: SATCOM, Antenna, Helicopter, communication, modem, satellite

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