Low-Profile Wideband SATCOM Antennas (LPWSA) for Airborne Platforms

Period of Performance: 02/22/2012 - 08/23/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


Affordable, low profile SATCOM On the Move (OTM) terminals are a subject of intense research due to the cost, performance and physical burden of current systems. For airborne ISR platforms like EMARSS and others, SATCOM uplinks using a gimbaled dish on the top fuselage centerline are the preferred means of backhauling large volumes of ISR data. Due to the reasons listed above, alternate SATCOM terminals for Ku-Band (threshold) and Ka-Band (objective) are desired. FIRST RF proposes a Ku/Ka Band terminal that is low profile, offers high gain to close high datarate links, and maintains an attractive cost target. The proposed solution is a hybrid approach: by combining both mechanical and electrical steering, fine pointing accuracy is maintained using affordable technology. The proposed hybrid approach substantially reduces the cost of RF electronics modules, and eases the burden on fine-beam pointing algorithms. During Phase I, FIRST RF will perform full systems design; design, build and test a passive panel; and design, build and test a single active RF module. During Phase II we will produce an active array.