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Shipboard Radar Cross Section/Radio Frequency (RCS/RF) Verification of Airborne Platform




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: Design and develop a system capable of measuring the Radar Cross Section/Radio Frequency (RCS/RF) performance of Naval platforms or sub-systems (i.e. apertures) while deployed at sea.

DESCRIPTION: While assigned to the fleet, there is a need to quickly verify air vehicles’ RCS/RF performance to maintain operational readiness. To find RF defects or changes, measurements are taken and then used to assess the health of the aircraft and antenna functionality. The operating costs and readiness levels of many current and next generation platforms are driven by their maintenance and sustainment need. Previous and current methodologies for precise platform measurements and antenna patterns have proven too costly to the point of being impractical. An onboard RF evaluation system suite that quickly and affordably takes qualitative measurements of the RCS/RF performance on an aircraft is ideal to check system ability. The baseline bandwidth for RCS/RF verification measurements will be 2-18 GHz with stretch objectives to go both lower and higher in frequency. This SBIR topic is intended to address three levels of RCS/RF verification over the noted bandwidth:

1) On-board verification – develop a handheld or similar device to perform near field RCS/RF verification on the flight deck or below deck in the hangar space.


2) Shipboard to air verification – develop a portable verification system that is based on board the ship and allows for the RCS/RF verification of aircraft as they fly near the ship.


3) Air to air verification – develop a verification system that is compact enough to be integrated into an air vehicle to perform air to air RCS/RF verification.

PHASE I: Determine the feasibility for the development of a RCS/RF verification measurement system. This will include a determination of what approaches might be possible to address the objectives listed in the Description section. As part of Phase I, the contractor shall demonstrate an understanding of the problem, the physics associated with the problem and provide a clear path towards build of a prototype and technology demonstration during Phase II.

PHASE II: Based on the Phase I effort, demonstrate and validate the RCS/RF verification measurement system. In this phase the small business shall build a RCS/RF frequency verification prototype system to measure an aircraft in at least one (and up to all) of the objective configurations. The bandwidth of the system shall be at least 2-18 GHz. Additional systems to go either lower or higher in frequency are encouraged.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Based on the Phase II effort, integrate the RCS/RF verification measurement system with a naval platform. Perform field testing to show the robustness of the system and to resolve issues with signature and RF measurements of aircraft in shipboard environments. Private Sector Commercial Potential: The RCS/RF verification measurement system can be used in the field to measure the RCS contributions from wind turbines. Also, the system has potential to measure and diagnose the RF health of antennas and “smart” vehicles.


  • R. Cioni, A. Sarri, S. Sensani, G. de Mauro; "A Low-Cost Compact Measurement System for Diagnostic Imaging and RCS Estimation", Proceedings of AMTA 25th Meeting and Symposium, Irvine, CA, 2003.
  • Radar Cross Section Measurements and Simulations of a Model Airplane in the X-bandInácio Malmonge Martin, Mauro Alves, Guilherme G. Peixoto, and Mirabel Cerqueira de Rezende PIERS Online, Vol. 5, No. 4, 377-380, 2009 doi:10.2529/PIERS090220150258.

KEYWORDS: RCS, RF, verification, antennas, shipboard

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