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Boulder, CO, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.98K | Year: 2015

In this Phase II effort, FIRST RF will demonstrate array technology enabling highly directive multi-beam TCDL communications using phased arrays integrated on the Fire Scout UAV platform. Phased array systems allow for dynamic beam steering with graceful degradation. These arrays also have the benefit of a narrow azimuth radiation pattern conducive to point-to-point communications and networking waveforms. The system will allow the Fire Scout and other UAV platforms to augment fleet communications by increasing inter-platform connectivity between airborne assets, surface ships, and expeditionary forces. FIRST RF proposes an innovative approach that leverages innovative phased array architecture to provide a highly functional TCDL communications node with multi-beam capability. Commercial applications of this technology have also been identified.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2016

FIRST RF Corporation proposes the development and integration of a low-cost, low-SWaP, Integrated System for Avoidance of Ice-producing Airborne Hazards (ISAIAH). This system will be lightweight (~15 lbs) and draw minimal prime power (less than 100W), but will dramatically widen the window of available operating conditions to Navy and Marine Corps aircraft systems by providing realtime 3D ice hazard detection. The ISAIAH system will be comprised of a ruggedized radiometer system by Radiometrics Corporation, and augmented with a robust 2-D scanning antenna by FIRST RF Corporation, which will allow the system to rapidly create a 3D mapping of supercooled liquid water in the aircrafts vicinity, allowing the pilot to avoid icing and permitting flight in conditions normally precluded because of the danger of icing.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.94K | Year: 2015

The growing capability of unmanned aerial systems (UASs) has changed the face of the modern battlefield. Our enemies are beginning to exploit these new resources in ways that pose substantial threats not only to our deployed warfighters, but also to American citizens on our own soil. Because these threats are not well-addressed by our existing defense infrastructure, it is imperative that technologies be developed and fielded to proactively and preemptively close this capability gap. FIRST RFs proposed approach to meet these requirements is based on a multi-sensor, multi-platform, and multi-mode architecture that provides the greatest surveillance area and reliability for the lowest cost. We believe this architecture provides unparalleled adaptability, scalability, and dynamic reconfigurability by providing a suite of technologies that can be selected and deployed to provide a counter-UAS shield that is customized to its emplacement. During the proposed Phase I effort, FIRST RF will conduct an architecture study to evaluate the capabilities of each component sensor technology, and recommend an overall approach that jointly optimizes them in order to provide the best performance for the lowest cost. Leveraging the results of this study, preliminary hardware demonstrations are planned for the Phase I Option.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 98.97K | Year: 2015

A low cost full 2D electronically scanned W-Band beamforming active imaging system can enable high resolution day/night all weather sensor systems. To meet these demanding requirements, FIRST RF proposes a pragmatic approach using COTS SiGe MMICs and a novel sparse phased array/packaging approach to meet these requirements. FIRST RFs approach leverages existing low cost phased array and scanning MMW sensors for radar and communication systems to meet the portability and robustness required for military environments. The FIRST RF approach will support fast scanning of up to 30 fps and a minimum range of 100m in a small air cooled package.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.95K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:Multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) RF systems are revolutionizing the RF communications industry by transforming historically problematic, heavily faded RF environments into rich, multi-channel media data rates enhanced by factors of 2-4X or more. Although the air-air datalink scenario does not enjoy the rich multipath environments that are exploited by commercial and military MIMO systems, many of the salient features of MIMO can be applied to airborne directional datalink systems to great effect. In this program, we investigate three MIMO-related enhancements that are applicable to any distributed aperture airborne data link system. The three techniques to be studied include orthogonal polarization in the Tx/Rx antenna to upgrade link capacity, utilization of multiple antenna arrays in receive mode, and inclusion of a novel fast-search methodology to reduce discovery time. Numerous existing directional datalink systems incorporate multiple high-gain antenna arrays which provide a strong base for significant MIMO-inspired capability enhancements with the introduction of the proposed applique. All three of our proposed concepts have great potential to enhance the capacity, robustness, and other performance aspects of legacy distributed datalink systems without requiring changes to the current radio or waveform.BENEFIT:Although FIRST RFs proposed investigation is focused on legacy airborne datalinks, the technology has direct applicability to other applications that utilize distributed antennas. These technologies provide a path to improve ground tactical systems as well. The system provides several key benefits including increased (ideally double) link capacity and data rates to support larger networks and greater throughput for ISR, heavily cooperative, and other data-intensive missions. Elegant signal combination results in a more robust system that achieves improved signal-strength links without dropouts as nodes change in bearing with one another (switch loss). A fast, LPI/LPD, ad-hoc in-flight network reconfiguration is achieved using a novel discovery approach improving reassignments and other reconfiguration requirements imposed by the mission. With these potential benefits, the applicability of this technology extends beyond the scope of airborne directional datalink systems and has other military as well as commercial applications. FIRST RF looks forward to working with Air Force to explore the applicability of this technology to the near-term need for datalink missions.

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