E-Band Gimbaled Dish Antenna

Period of Performance: 08/02/2012 - 10/31/2014


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


ABSTRACT: Airborne ISR platforms are intensive data generators and require more robust SATCOM links in order to remain effective. One method of achieving higher datarates is by migrating to higher frequencies such as the 71 86 GHz band. This band is currently undeveloped, especially for satellite communications. The availability of 5 GHz of bandwidth can greatly close the gap in the ever growing capacity shortfall for offloading sensor data from aircraft. Air Force has an objective to support a new V/W band geostationary SATCOM relay system where video/data is uplinked at 81 86 GHz from multiple airborne nodes and downlinked at 71 76 to one of two ground stations. This arrangement supports site diversity for weather mitigation and could potentially service 100 simultaneous platforms with data rates that range from 1 to 100 s of Mbps. There currently is no off-the-shelf antenna technology for the space segment at this band. During this Phase II program, FIRST RF will build a prototype reflector meeting the requirements of the V/W Band SATCOM space segment. This is in support of a follow-on effort where space-qualified antenna hardware will be procured as a result of the advances made in Phase II. BENEFIT: This program immediately benefits the airborne ISR community with requirements for offloading large amounts of data via gimbaled SATCOM dishes. As active microwave circuits support higher frequencies, the datalinks currently being supported at Ku and Ka Bands could foreseeably be supported by V and W Band terminals. This would come with two benefits: a smaller physical aperture provides the same beamwidth, and the datarates achievable are substantially higher.