DoD SBIR 23.3 BAA

Active
No
Status
Closed
Release Date
August 23rd, 2023
Open Date
September 20th, 2023
Due Date(s)
October 18th, 2023
Close Date
October 18th, 2023
Topic No.
AF233-0026

Topic

Compact High Power Microwave Antenna

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2023

Summary

The Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking proposals for a Compact High Power Microwave Antenna. The objective of this SBIR is to design, build, and test high frequency, high gain antennas for High Power Microwave (HPM) applications. The goal is to develop a phased array antenna suitable for HPM sources at GW power levels that are broadband with minimal sidelobes. The antenna should be able to cover the entire X-band (8-12 GHz) with a wide bandwidth and high gain. The Phase I awardee must demonstrate a phased array antenna with a threshold gain of 24 dBi and an objective gain of 30 dBi across the X-band frequencies. The antenna should be phase steerable with at least plus or minus 20 degrees in both azimuth and elevation. The awardee must also create models of improvement in performance, analyze tradeoffs, and correlate manufacturing and materials development with modeling. In Phase II, the awardee will design, build, and demonstrate a single element of the phased array antenna and work on improving the full array design. In Phase III, the awardee will design, build, and demonstrate a module of at least 5 elements suitable for incorporating into the full array. The awardee will provide a complete technical data package and explore potential dual-use applications. The project duration is not specified, and funding specifics can be found on the solicitation agency's website.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Directed Energy (DE)

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 the Announcement. 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: The objective of this SBIR is to design, build, and test high frequency, high gain antennas for High Power Microwave (HPM) applications. These new antennas would open up a new capability for HPM by allowing the HPM system to use already existing apertures on airborne platforms. This would prevent the need to change the outer mold line of an airborne platform which aids in speeding up the flight certification. There are three main goals for the antenna design from this effort. The first goal is a compact mechanically or electrically phased antenna. At the end of the Phase III, the desired end state would be a full design, to include both electromagnetic simulations and mechanical drawings, as well as hardware that could be tested. The second goal would be for the antenna to be broadband and cover the entire X-band. The desired end state of the Phase III of this effort would be a full design, to include both electromagnetic simulations and mechanical drawings. The third goal would be to reduce antenna sidelobes, maximizing the power of directed energy and reducing collateral damage. The first goal is a compact mechanically or electrically phased antenna. At the end of the Phase III, the desired end state would be a full design, to include both electromagnetic simulations and mechanical drawings, as well as hardware that could be tested. The second goal would be for the antenna to be broadband and cover the entire X-band. The desired end state of the Phase III of this effort would be a full design, to include both electromagnetic simulations and mechanical drawings. The third goal would be to reduce antenna sidelobes, maximizing the power of directed energy and reducing collateral damage.

DESCRIPTION: The goal of this topic is the development of a phased array antenna suitable for HPM sources at GW power levels that are broadband with minimal sidelobes. Phased antennas have the benefit of reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) due to their low profile, potential conformal geometries to meet host platform requirements, and their ability to provide beam steering via phase shifting of their elements rather than bulk antenna movement. Phase shifting may be achieved by means of mechanical actuators (e.g. physical manipulation of individual elements), or by means of controlling the electromagnetic fields at each element (e.g. high power phase shifters). A broadband antenna that can cover the entire X-band (8-12 GHz) with instantaneous full bandwidth is highly desired, but a tunable bandwidth covering this frequency range is acceptable. A wide bandwidth, high gain, steerable antenna will enable the next generation of HPM systems to deliver enhanced effects against a broader selection of targets. Sidelobes on HPM systems waste energy and can produce collateral damage. There are well known techniques to reduce sidelobes, but they often come at the expense of increased local electric fields in the antenna. New antenna designs, new manufacturing techniques, lensing and understanding of the local discharge breakdown systems can be utilized to dramatically reduce these sidelobes. Modeling HPM antennas as a complete system enables the analysis and design of antenna systems to reduce sidelobes while also reducing antenna hotspots. Advanced material design using new 3D metal manufacturing techniques can produce antennas with better wear conditions and focusing abilities and allow for expanded manufacturing design options. Lensing systems can be developed to improve HPM focusing. Better understanding of local discharge breakdown phenomena through modeling can inform the design process to further improve the system.

PHASE I: The awardee must demonstrate through electromagnetic simulation a phased array antenna with a threshold gain of 24 dBi and an objective gain of 30 dBi of gain across the frequencies within the X-band (8-12 GHz). The antenna shall be phase steerable with at least plus or minus 20 degrees in both azimuth and elevation. The antenna must be able to handle a threshold power of 20 megawatts per square meter with an objective power handling of 100 megawatts per square meter. The awardee must create models of the improvement in performance of proposed new antenna designs and systems, analyze the tradeoffs of sidelobe reduction and hotspot generation, and correlate new manufacturing and materials development with the modelling in order to design a system that optimizes power delivery and reduces material wear.

PHASE II: The awardee shall design, build, and demonstrate a single element of the phased array antenna designed in Phase I. The module shall demonstrate all electromagnetic parameters needed in order to satisfy the full array requirements described in Phase I. The awardee shall work on improving the full array design to include customer requirements for platform and source integration, as well as determine the limiting factors and trade-offs as it relates to frequency bandwidths, steerability (precision, slew rates, and angular limits), and power handling. Verify sidelobe reduction, reduction of wear and increase of delivered power.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The awardee shall design, build, and demonstrate a module of at least 5 elements suitable for incorporating into the full array designed in Phase I and II. This module shall demonstrate all electromagnetic parameters needed in order to satisfy the full array requirements described in Phase II. The awardeshall provide the cost and schedule to fabricate and demonstrate the full phased array antenna. The awardee shall deliver a complete technical data package for the full array to include all electromagnetic simulations and manufacturing-ready drawings. Explore potential to transfer the technology to military high power electromagnetic and Electronic Warfare systems, as well as civilian communication and radar systems. Work with DoD primes and industry partners to identify other applications for the technology.

REFERENCES:

  1. Benford, James, John A. Swegle and Edl Schamiloglu. High Power Microwaves, Third Edition. CRC Press, 2019.; Balanis, Constantine A. Antenna Theory: Analysis and Design, Fourth Edition. Wiley, 2016.;
  2. Y. Rahmat-Samii, D. -. Duan, D. V. Giri and L. F. Libelo, "Canonical examples of reflector antennas for high-power microwave applications," in IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 197-205, Aug. 1992, doi: 10.1109/15.155830.;
  3. L. F. Libelo and C. M. Knop, "A corrugated waveguide phase shifter and its use in HPM dual-reflector antenna arrays," in IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 31-35, Jan. 1995, doi: 10.1109/22.363011.

KEYWORDS: HPM; 3D manufacturing; Antenna Design; Discharge Breakdown; Sidelobe Reduction; Antenna Materials; Antenna Lensing; high power microwave