Air Force to add high-speed satellite communications link to Global Hawk UAV

HANSCOM AFB, Mass., 24 March 2010. U.S. Air Force military communications experts are looking for companies to help them develop a high capacity satellite communications (SATCOM) link for the high-altitude, long-endurance RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Mar 24th, 2010

Posted by John Keller

HANSCOM AFB, Mass., 24 March 2010. U.S. Air Force military communications experts are looking for companies to help them develop a high capacity satellite communications (SATCOM) link for the high-altitude, long-endurance RQ-4 Global Hawkunmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The Air Force Electronic Systems Center (ESC) at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., issued a source-sought notice (solicitation number R2362) last week to conduct market research for the High Data Rate-Airborne Terminal (HDR-AT) program to add a high-capacity SATCOM link to the unmanned Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft.

This link will support newly installed airborne sensor packages using Ka band communications via the U.S. Department of Defense Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) constellation with data rates approaching 300 megabits per second, Air Force officials say.

The HDR-AT program seeks to develop upgraded multi-band SATCOM antenna group components, a new modem assembly, and a government-developed high data rate waveform based on a commercial communications standard.

The Air Force wants to hear from companies able to perform the up-front technical analysis and testing necessary to develop this kind of SATCOM link for Global Hawk. Radome target radio frequency performance requirements include:

-- insertion loss less than or equal to 1 decibel for commercial and WGS Ku-band transmissions;
-- transmit axial ratio degradation of less than or equal to 0.75 decibels over 98.9 percent of pointing angles at Ku and Ka bands, and 0.5 decibels over 50 percent of pointing angles at Ka bands;
-- radome induced boresight and differential boresight (transmit to receive misalignment) error of less than or equal to 0.04 degrees over 98.9 percent of pointing angles at Ka band, and less than or equal to 0.08 degrees over 98.9 percent of pointing angles at Ku band; and
-- radome effects shall not cause antenna sidelobes degradation greater than 2 decibels.

The multi-band radome must meet all environmental performance specifications of the current Global Hawk radome, and the current radome shape must be maintained to avoid or limit potential airworthiness recertification.

Companies interested must provide detailed information no later than 2 April 2010 demonstrating their capabilities in no more than 20 double-spaced, single-sided pages.

Send qualification information, or submit questions or concerns, to the Air Force's Kathleen Delgado by e-mail at kathleen.delgado@hanscom.af.mil, or by post care of U.S. Air Force Electronic Systems Center, 653 ELSW/SNND PK, 5 Eglin St, Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-2100. Here telephone number is 781-271-5133.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFMC/ESC/R2362/listing.html.

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