Wide Bandwidth Photonics Based Beamformer
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
An innovative concept for a scalable beamformer that can be applied to the full range of Air Force radars is proposed. The concept is photonics based and currently supports transmit/receive applications over the 0.1 to 20 GHz band. The design provides a digitally controlled True Time Delay beamformer effectively adapted to a phased array in any portion of the spectral coverage. Fine pointing resolution is consistent with the proposed implementation. The Phase 1 approach will demonstrate the key beamformer characteristics followed by a Phase 2 program that will miniaturize the design and test a multi element implementation. Agiltron is working closely with BAE Systems on this unconventional approach leveraging Agiltron's recent breakthrough in manufacturing high performance fiber delay lines and variable optical attenuators. The proposed concept overcomes the deficiencies associated with electronic beam forming components, offering frequency independent performance of controlling phase and amplitude in a small, lightweight package with minimal power consumption. Our approach provides unprecedented performance in terms of wide dynamic range, extremely low microwave signal loss, low noise and fast dynamic reconfigurability. The preferred solution set will be determined after developing optimization algorithms for digital receiver/exciters for the US Air Force.
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