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Materials Development for Affordable Maritime Compatible Radio Frequency Materials



TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop novel low-cost techniques for high volume manufacturing of maritime Radio Frequency (RF) materials.

DESCRIPTION: There is a growing need for the development of high performance, low cost RF materials for the maritime environment. As the Navy begins planning for next generation platforms novel, affordable, maritime compatible materials will need to be developed. Current, conventional materials need to be improved to enhance their capabilities as a function of both bandwidth and performance. Current materials are also prone to degradation due to environmental effects, have weight issues and temperature limitations. Novel approaches to RF materials are desired that allow for maritime compatibility, wideband performance, broad temperature performance, and better mechanical properties. The specific materials of interest for this topic include materials with: high RF dielectric and magnetic properties, low and high RF electric and magnetic loss, and stiff and flexible materials. Techniques that achieve a number of these interests will be preferred. A manufacturing technique to develop these low cost RF materials is critical to the success of an affordable future Navy. Example applications include:

1) antenna size reduction materials (high dielectric and magnetic properties with low loss)– materials that have the potential to reduce the physical size of antennas while maintaining the RF performance of the antennas, specific emphasis should be placed on frequencies below 4GHz.


2) RF absorbing materials (high dielectric and magnetic properties with loss) – materials that show potential to far exceed the RF performance of current absorbing materials (carbonyl iron powder) in bandwidth, frequency of operation, weight, cost and environmental compatibility.


3) flexible materials (high dielectric and magnetic properties with and without loss) – maritime compatible materials that retain their mechanical properties over a very broad temperature range (-110 to +350 degrees Fahrenheit).

PHASE I: Demonstrate the ability to develop and manufacture an RF material with an index of refraction greater than 10 at 2 GHz. Characterize material(s) electromagnetic properties in-house or with ITAR controlled laboratories. Deliver to the Government a prototype sample of at least 1 sq. ft. in size and, if applicable, 100 grams of the filler material. Develop and present to the Government a plan to scale up the materials, either independently or with a materials manufacturing company.

PHASE II: Refine the manufacturing technique and demonstrate consistent electrical properties, temperature range and environmental stability by testing statistically meaningful material lots. Property requirements/goals will be refined in collaboration with the Government for specific applications. Once the requirements/goals are refined the contractor shall demonstrate scalability to tens of sq. ft. of material.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Finalize the development of material based solutions and work with an industry partner to develop processes so that the chosen materials can be readily implemented on existing and future Navy assets. In phase III, the technique will be applied to a large scale application. While the scope of the finalized affordable RF material manufacturing will be determined by the technique itself, the final state of the technology will be an adaptable low cost manufacturing process for high index of refraction RF materials. Private Sector Commercial Potential: Wireless technology is a large and growing part of the world economy. Affordable RF materials with high electric and magnetic properties decrease the size and potential weigh of the antenna systems.


  • E. F. Knott, J. F. Shaeffer, M. T. Tuley, “Radar Cross Section”, Artech House, Inc, 1993.
  • Richards, Scheer, Holm, "Principles of Modern Radar: Basic Principles", Scitech Publishing, Inc., 2010.

KEYWORDS: Processing/Manufacturing, RF Absorbers, Flexible, RF Materials, Antennas

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