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Body Wearable Radio Direction Finding (DF) Antenna



ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 3.5.b.(7) of the solicitation.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a practical Body Wearable Radio Direction Finding (DF) Antenna, or “DF Mantenna”, that will provide the soldier with a low profile antenna for tactical environments that performs in the 50 MHz to 500 MHz range with 0dB Gain.

DESCRIPTION: The DF Mantenna is required to provide the desired capabilities without a large visual signature.  An antenna mounted on a mast would provide a noticeable, unique appearance in combat environment, along with a likelihood of entanglement with obstructions during Soldier maneuvers. This appearance may bring attention to the soldiers and reveal their mission to observers.  Antenna size constraints can result in DF accuracy performance tradeoffs over the frequency bands of interest.  In order to overcome some of the possible problems with a mast-mounted antenna, the DF Mantenna could be the solution to resolving these issues.  

PHASE I: This SBIR Phase 1 proposal will focus on designing and developing a body-wearable antenna system, such as a one-size-fits-all vest with adjustable straps, with a desired weight of less than 2 pounds.  The DF Mantenna will operate in the 50 MHz to 500 MHz range with 0 dB Gain.

PHASE II: During Phase II The DF Mantenna will be developed further to increase its performance capabilities and integrate the design into an actual IOTV (improved outer tactical vest). The DF Mantenna must have the capability to provide an easy to use, user adjustable functionality, to allow the DF Mantenna to cover the 50 MHz to 500 MHz range. The projected cost of the DF Mantenna should not exceed $50,000.  The installation of the DF Mantenna into the vest shall not impede the protective capability of the vest. Three prototypes will be provided for government test and evaluation at government selected facilities. Design considerations must be given to future manufacturability and installation into the vest. Additional engineering development will further improve the design to allow the DF Mantenna to be completely integrated into the soldier combat uniform and function properly in the actual combat environment.

PHASE III: Further engineering design efforts will continue to develop the antenna system design further to include manufacturability and additional frequency bands of operation. Emphasis will be on improvements to SWAP (size weight and power). Consideration will be given to integrate the DF Mantenna into other soldier vests and/or soldier ensembles. The integration of the DF Mantenna concept into clothing will have potential application in the non-military, commercial electronics market, as well as with first responders (police and fire fighters) as well as in the construction industry.

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