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Manpack antenna for Advanced MIL SATCOM

Description:

OBJECTIVE: Develop a light weight auto-tracking antenna for manpack satellite communication terminal. The terminal will provide the AJ and LPD communications capability to dismounted forces (TACP and SOF) and will operate at AEHF frequencies. DESCRIPTION: The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite communictions system provides global, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military land, air, and naval warfare. Our dismounted forces Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) and Special Operation Forces (SOF) have a great need for an anti-jam (AJ) and low probability of detection (LPD) satellite communication terminal. Since the troops already carry over 100 lbs of gear it is extremely important that the terminal and antenna weigh less than 16 lbs including the battery. The required duty cycle is 10-1-1 where ten hours is idle/standby, one hour receive and one hour transmit. To maintain the satellite link the antenna must track the satellite. The beam pointing doesn"t have to be continuous but it needs to be re-pointed every 15 minutes at a minimum. More active tracking or continuous tracking may allow for higher data rates or the ability to acquire/maintain links in adverse conditions (rain, low look angles). While this can be done manually it is preferred to track the satellite automatically to minimize already task-saturated operator involvement. The AEHF manpack terminal with its small lightweight auto-tracking antenna should be able to close the link in clear weather at 256 kbps data rate. The antenna must be sized to fit within the overall terminal size, weight, and power limits. In addition, it cannot consume more power than the overall system can supply with 10-1-1 duty cycle. Other relevant antenna parameters are: VSWR 2:1, gain 39.0 dBi, pointing loss 1 dB, and polarization loss 0.2 dB. The overall goal of this effort is to design, then build and demonstrate a 44 GHz transmit and 20 GHz receive antenna that weighs less than 10 lbs and consumes less than 20 W in operation. The antenna must be able to close and maintain a 256 kbps link in AEHF band. A small hard reflector antenna (12 inch or less) or a larger foldable reflector are both acceptable to the user. Other solutions and new innovative antenna concepts are encouraged to be explored while keeping in mind efficiency, size, weight and power. PHASE I: Perform a design study for an AEHF auto-tracking antenna that weighs less than 10 lbs and consumes less than 20 W in operation. The operating frequencies are 44 GHz transmit and 20 GHz receive and the antenna must be able to close and maintain the link at a 256 kbps data rate. PHASE II: Based on Phase I study, refine the design and prototype and demonstrate the antenna. Testing can be done by connecting the antenna to an existing, government furnished radio, i.e., Milstar Command Post terminal, and tracking an AEHF satellite for two hours. The receiver noise figure is 3 dB. The AEHF terminal is located at MITRE Bedford Lab, and it's owned by the AFLMC/HNA. PHASE III: The auto-track system could apply directly to commercial portable antenna systems for emerging commercial Ka satellite services. Accurate tracking could improve data throughput in comparison to existing systems. REFERENCES: 1. http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/milstar3.htm. 2. Advanced Wideband Terminals ORD AWT ORD CAF-AMC-AFSOC 002-95-III-C, Mar 2004. 3. ACC TACS Functional Concept, September 2008. 4. AFSOC FY12-37 Master Plan, dated 1 Sep 2009. 5. Battlefield Airmen Operations (BAO) Human Machine Interface (HMI) CDD, 9 Jan 2007. 6. CPD for the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) SOF Next Generation Tactical Communications Capability (NGTCC) System, dated 1 April 2007. 7. Enabling Concept for Airborne Wideband Communications, 23 June 09, Air Combat Command (ACC).
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