Joint Aerial Layer Network High Capacity Backbone Antennas

Period of Performance: 05/08/2012 - 02/08/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

First RF Corp.
5340 Airport Blvd. Array
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: In order to provide modular, scalable, and flexible operational capabilities for future Joint Aerial Layer Networks, FIRST RF proposes developing a small, lightweight, robust, multi-band antenna concept that can be adapted to provide customizable pick-and-choose options, including spatial coverage, spectral support, polarization, and form-factor. This is dubbed the Modular Array of Multi-Band Apertures (MAMBA) concept. The MAMBA concept will provide the flexibility to support configurations including high-gain directional panel, omni-directional mast, and switched-beam directional antennas with the ability to mix-and-match support for frequencies across UHF, L, S, C, X, Ku, and Ka Common Data Link (CDL) bands. This variety of available configurations and frequency coverage options allows for support of a variety of communications protocols, including persistent/synchronous legacy CDL and directional time-division multiple access (DTDMA) protocols. Through the exclusive use of affordable, high-volume manufacturing techniques, FIRST RF s apertures remain lightweight, durable, and reliable while reducing the reliance on discrete components and custom hardware. BENEFIT: As a result of this SBIR, this approach will generate both near-term and long-term cost savings for Air Force, ensuring that no new development of the baseline technology is required to support integration of JALN support on new platforms. There are numerous military applications for lightweight, directional, frequency agile, conformal antennas on land, air and sea vehicles for communication networks as well as point-to-point links. Directional antennas will find commercial application in the area of networking between commercial airliners and airborne internet access (especially over oceans).