Navy researchers seek to develop integrated radar and communications antennas to reduce shipboard RF interference

ARLINGTON, Va., 21 March 2012. Shipboard radar experts at the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., are asking a select group of 18 U.S. defense contractors to turn their attention to advanced shipboard radar technology that reduces the number of radar antennas on Navy ships by using integrated, multi-function, multi-beam arrays.

ONR officials issued a request for information (12-RFI-0004) Monday for the Integrated Topside (InTop) Flexible Distributed Array Radar (FlexDAR) concept to develop a scalable family of radar antennas for several classes of Navy surface warships and submarines. Navy officials caution that this RFI is not yet a formal solicitation.

The InTop program seeks to dominate the RF spectrum and create affordable, scalable antennas and antenna subsystems on Navy surface ships and submarines not only for radar, but also for electronic warfare (EW) and RF communications systems.

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A growing number of antennas aboard today's surface combatants has led to problems with electro-magnetic interference (EMI), radar cross sections, and the overall performance of shipboard electronic warfare, radar, and communications systems.

The ONR InTop FlexDAR program is asking for ideas from the Navy's 18 InTop contractors and their potential partners on creating digital network-coordinated phased array front-end radar and communications antennas to be integrated with back-end digital signal and data processing subsystems to be developed by the Navy.

Although only the Navy's 18 InTop contractors are eligible to submit a proposal as the prime contractor under the potential FlexDAR program, any U.S. defense company is eligible to partner with the InTop contractors on the FlexDAR program. The 18 InTop contractors are:

-- ATK Space Systems in Dayton, Ohio;
-- Argon ST in Fairfax, Va.;
-- BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H.;
-- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Broomfield, Colo.;
-- Boeing Co. in Seattle;
-- Cobham Defense Systems in Landsdale, Pa.;
-- Colorado Engineering Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colo.;
-- DRS Signal Solutions Inc. in Gaithersburg, Md.;
-- FTL Systems Inc. in Rochester, Minn.;
-- General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Fairfax, Va.;
-- HYPRES Inc. in Elmsford, N.Y.;
-- ITT Corp.’s Electronic Systems & Radar Systems in Van Nuys, Calif.;
-- ITT Force Protection Systems in Thousand Oaks, Calif.;
-- Lockheed Martin Corp. in Moorestown, N.J.;
-- Northrop Grumman Corp. in Baltimore, Md.;
-- Raytheon Co. in Tewksbury, Mass.;
-- S2 Corp. in Bozeman, Mont.; and
-- Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

The InTop FlexDAR program will ask contractors to build two identical radar and communications antennas that will be installed at an ONR communications link to demonstrate several important advantages of network-linked, distributed sensors.

InTop FlexDAR contractors would be asked to develop the pair of network-coordinated sensors to demonstrate increased detection and firm-track range; improved electronic protection; multistatic jammer triangulation; polarization diversity; improved tracking through simultaneous multistatic dwells; track continuity, accuracy, tracking through maneuvers, closely spaced tracks, and target identification (ID); improved detection of targets in clutter; polarization diversity; increased signal-to-noise ratio and spur free dynamic range; support operation during emissions control; bistatic operation; and graceful degradation.

The proposed radars should include an all-digital transmit/receive module; digitization the entire radar bandwidth; digital beamforming on transmit and receive; multiple independent beams; integrated transmit/receive module electronics; low part count and cost; use of distributed clocks and local oscillators locked to a low drift Global Positioning System (GPS) time standard; radar-to-radar time and frequency synchronization; and simplified hardware upgrades.

Companies interested should e-mail unclassified responses to ONR no later than 3 May 2012 to ONR's Betsy DeLong at betsy.delong@navy.mil, Mark Busse at mark.busse@nrl.navy.mil, Lynn Christian at lynn.christian@navy.mil and Greg Tavik at greg.tavik@nrl.navy.mil.

For technical questions contact Mark Busse by e-mail at mark.busse@nrl.navy.mil, or by post at Code 5307, Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20375.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DON/ONR/ONR/12-RFI-0004/listing.html.


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