Improved Mini Ku-Band Antenna for TDL

Period of Performance: 10/22/2008 - 04/21/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Barron Assoc., Inc.
Principal Investigator


TCDL systems provide forward-deployed ground and airborne platforms with high-rate communication capabilities, supporting vital tactical data links. Currently, omni-directional TCDL antennas employed on airborne platforms maintain link closure for level flight, but struggle to maintain the link through aircraft maneuvers that are common in a tactical environment. To address this issue, the Army seeks a Ku-band antenna to support air-to-air and air-to-ground TCDL links on maneuvering manned and unmanned Army aircraft. The antenna will be rigidly mounted and must maintain link closure through banks, turns, and pitch changes. It must meet the SWAP requirements of the Shadow UAV; other target airborne platforms include Apache and Blackhawk helicopters. Barron Associates, Inc., in conjunction with L-3 CS-W, propose to develop an Improved Mini Ku-Band Antenna for TCDL, which will provide the Army with a robust, lightweight Ku-band antenna that allows airborne TCDL systems to maintain data link closure through common aircraft maneuvers. As classic airborne antenna implementations fail to provide the desired functionality, this challenging problem demands a more innovative approach than simply optimizing the coverage pattern of a single antenna. In Phase I, the research team will evaluate several candidate approaches to determine the solution that best meets the solicitation requirements.