Major Technology Advancement Achieved On U.S. Air Force Program
With Radant Technologies
World's First Demonstration Of Microelectromechanical Systems -Based X-Band Radar
Stow, MA - April 6, 2006 - A major technology advancement has been achieved on a U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contract with Radant Technologies, Inc., Stow, Massachusetts. For the first time, a lightweight, electronically scanning antenna (ESA) using Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) technology has been used for air and surface target detection, while interfaced to an existing radar system.
The MEMS ESA saves weight, prime power and cost in comparison to conventional active ESAs. Much of the gains in antenna performance are attributed to the employment of MEMS switches in lieu of traditional semiconductor-based switching technologies. The robust MEMS switch that populates this ESA is the product of technology developed at Radant MEMS, Inc. (RMI), Stow, Massachusetts, working with AFRL/SNH (Hanscom AFB, MA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
RMI is the recent recipient of the 2005 Frost and Sullivan Award for Excellence in Technology for RF MEMS. "The technology being developed by Radant stands poised to revolutionize the radar industry," Congressman Marty Meehan said. "I have long supported the core antenna program and Radant Technologies' contribution to this important work."
The RMI MEMS switches have a volume of only 1.5mm3 and are produced by wafer capping of a mechanical switch mechanism that travels less than 1 micrometer in 10 microseconds. Greater than 700 billion switch cycles have been demonstrated in multiple DoD laboratories, and this feat is unmatched anywhere. In the ESA, the switches are assembled in a rigid, but extremely lightweight structure fabricated from graphite composite, rigid foam and flexible RF substrate. The demonstration ESA contains 25,000 MEMS devices, scans electronically +/- 60 degrees and operates over a 1-GHz bandwidth at X-band. The 2-foot x 2-foot lens was built to demonstrate feasibility of much larger antennas, exceeding 8 square meters, such as those needed by high-performance Airborne Moving Target Indicator (AMTI) and Surface Moving Target Indicator (SMTI) X-band radars. Such systems require a large power-aperture product, but must be lightweight enough for aerostats and airships, as required by the U.S. Army Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS) program.
An initial demonstration of the MEMS radar was performed at Lockheed-Martin rooftop facilities in Syracuse, New York. The standard mechanically scanned antenna in a commercial APG-67 X-band radar was replaced by the larger MEMS Radant ESA. The MEMS ESA was interfaced to the existing transmitter, receiver and display and, while under control of the APG-67, the MEMS radar beam scanned a 120-degree sector. The beam steering interface electronics were provided by DRS Laurel Technologies of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a unit of DRS Technologies, Inc. The transmit power was 350 W peak with a 10% duty cycle. With a small aircraft target, AMTI detection performance was demonstrated at ranges greater than 20 km. SMTI detection of ground traffic was also demonstrated over the 120-degree scan sector. This is believed to be the world's first demonstration of a MEMS-based radar system.
About Radant Technologies, Inc.
Radant Technologies, Inc. (RTI) operates from its Stow, Massachusetts, headquarters and is the industry leader, developer and manufacturer of radomes, the RadantTM lens electronically steerable antenna, reflectors and structural composite products for use in high-performance airborne, ground based, shipboard and submarine installations. For more information, please visit http://www.radanttechnologies.com or contact Dr. Jean-Claude Sureau, RTI at 978-562-3866.
About Radant MEMS, Inc.
Radant MEMS, Inc. (RMI) operates from Stow, Massachusetts, and is the industry leader, developer and manufacturer of Radio Frequency Microelectromechanical Systems (RF MEMS), including microswitches, phase shifters and antenna products. RMI has independently verified industry-leading microswitch reliability that exceeds 100 billion microswitch cycles. For more information, please visit http://www.radantmems.com or contact Dr. John Maciel, RMI at 978-639-4320.
AFRL POC: John P. Turtle AFRL/SNHA firstname.lastname@example.org (781) 377-2051