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FIRST RF Corporation

 

Physically Small VHF/UHF SAR Antenna: Compact, Lightweight Antenna Technology Enables VHF/UHF SAR Operation on Small UAV Platforms.

Technology and Innovation: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a critical asset to support the warfighter in the 21st century battlefield, carrying a variety of sensor systems specifically designed to collect and disseminate data to support tactically focused intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. FIRST RF’s design approach was to optimize the radiation efficiency of an electrically small (less than 8" depth at UHF frequencies) antenna by bringing it in close proximity to a ground plane (less than a 1⁄10 of a wavelength) at the lowest frequency of operation, yet allowing it to radiate efficiently and maintain the desired pattern performance without using depth as the means to achieve broadband performance.

Design and manufacture of narrow-band antennas in close proximity to a ground plane can be quite challenging and unrepeatable, given the high Q (energy stored in a small electrical volume). The creative leap was in finding a way to radiate this energy at the lowest frequency yet maintain the pattern and performance over several octaves of bandwidth.

Under this DARPA SBIR project, FIRST RF Corporation leveraged the knowledge acquired during previous DoD SBIR-funded projects to develop ultra broadband (greater than 300:1 bandwidths) antenna projects for electronic warfare (EW) and communications systems. This allows FIRST RF to design and develop a small, lightweight, compact, broadband, and high power/efficiency UHF and VHF airborne antenna technology that enable VHF/UHF airborne SAR systems to operate on small UAV platforms.

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The FRF-110 UHF SAR Antenna System is a dual polarized compact broadband antenna system that is fully qualified for airborne platforms. The antenna has gone through extensive flight testing and is certified for operation on a number of aircraft.

Size

Weight

Power Handling

Bandwidth

 

FRF-110

Physically Small VHF/UHF SAR Antenna

UHFSAR

FIRST RF’s UHF SAR antenna reduces volume relative to horn in this DC-3 aircraft.

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