Multiple Aperture Beam Tracking

Period of Performance: 07/14/2003 - 05/14/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


This proposal addresses the problem of beam management and switching between multiple antennas on variety of vehicles. Emphasis is on Air Force A/C requiring communications with minimum interruption. The primary focus of the effort is directed towards the UHF band of operation. However, results are applicable to other bands of operation. In fact an overview of application of the technique to higher frequencies including EHF (MILSTAR) is presented. The proposed technique relies on a "layered approach" whereby the antennas are provided coarse position and attitude from the host vehicle (A/C). Alternatively and in conjunction to A/C attitude, the system will use other techniques such as GPS and DGPS to improve on (or independently compute) the estimation of position and attitude. Additional techniques are used to improve position attitude estimation. The combination of all of this data will establish an auto-track loop that will be used to control the antennas via switching and or combining. This layered approach provides robustness and resistance to Jamming and interference. Information dominance requires seamless communications systems. The emphasis of this proposal is to develop a system/technology that maximizes communication system performance installed on airborne platforms. Current tracking systems degrade performance from optimum and are costly. The technology will significantly decrease the cost and complexity of broad band communications antennas. It will also provide a simple more generic solution to multiple beam tracking.