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Design Tool for Multiple Electromagnetic Radome Problems


TECH FOCUS AREAS: Microelectronics; General Warfighting Requirements (GWR) TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors; Materials; Information Systems OBJECTIVE: Develop a software tool for designing next generation military radomes that accounts for all aspects of the radome performance. DESCRIPTION: Modern military radomes have many electromagnetic requirements. A holistic approach must be taken when designing radomes to meet the various performance requirements. The transmissivity and reflectivity of the radome is impacted by the materials used in the radome including frequency dependent, anisotropic, and metamaterials. Very thin coatings of anti-static material are often applied to the exterior surfaces of radomes to bleed off static electricity. Lightning diverter strips are used to protect the radome structure from physical damage due to lightning strikes, which are especially common for nosecone radomes. Structures behind the radome such antenna arrays, electronic units, cable harnesses, and bulkhead geometries must also be considered. Reflections internal to the radome from high power radars can couple into cable harnesses under the radome and cause interference to electronic devices or cause physical damage to the cables. Current commercial simulation tools address aspects of the radome design problem but no single tool exists that can be used to assess the performance of the radome with regards to transmissivity/reflectivity, precipitation static, direct and indirect effects of lightning strikes, and cable coupling. A solution is needed that can address the vast scale of the problem (ranging from nanometers to meters), complex material properties including frequency dependent and anisotropic materials, tapered layer thicknesses, complex cable harnesses composed of multiple conductors and multiple branches, and complex antennas/radars located behind the radome. The simulation tool also needs to be able to efficiently generate data for many frequencies as the phenomena to be studied cover a wide range of frequencies (lightning to high frequency radars). The tool must also be able to work with many different CAD formats and include capabilities for efficiently healing CAD models. Very often, CAD healing requires more engineering time than setting up and running the electromagnetic simulation. PHASE I: Demonstrate a simulation tool that is capable of simulating lightning strikes, precipitation static, cable coupling, and transmissivity/reflectivity of a complex radome structure. The tool should employ the same simulation framework and CAD model for all types of simulations performed. Develop a product roadmap for additional features to improve the accuracy, speed, and usability of the tool to be implemented during the Phase II. PHASE II: Implement the product roadmap features identified during the Phase I. Validate the performance of the simulation tool through comparisons with measured data collected for military radomes. Explore hybridization with other simulation tools to account for radome/platform interactions. Document the software design and validation results in a final report. Provide intensive training to Air Force personnel for the simulation tool. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Radomes are used for many commercial applications including aerospace, naval, and land applications. For example, the performance of autonomous radars for self-driving vehicles is an extremely important application area where such a tool would find widespread commercial application. REFERENCES: 1. Massa, A. & Salucci, M. “Dealing with Complexity in Electromagnetics Through the System-by-Design Paradigm - New Strategies and Applications to the Design of Airborne Radomes.” 2018 IEEE Symposium on Antennas and Propagation & USNC/URSI National Radio Science Meeting, Boston MA, pp. 529-530). 2. Nair, R. & Jha, R. “Electromagnetic Design and Performance Analysis of Airborne Radomes: Trends and Perspectives [Antenna Applications Corner].” IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, Volume 56, Issue 4, 2014, pp. 276-298. 3. Shavit, R. “Radome Electromagnetic Theory and Design.” Wiley-IEEE Press, 2018.
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