Navy asks BAE Systems to build circular shipboard antennas for radar and identification-friend-or-foe (IFF)

June 28, 2024
OE-120B antenna offers instantaneous multiple-target identification against today’s sophisticated air threats. It accommodates all standard IFF modes.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – RF and microwave experts at BAE Systems will build circular shipboard antennas for identification-friend-or-foe (IFF), secondary surveillance radar, and air traffic control radar applications under terms of a $17 million contract announced earlier this month.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, N.H., to build electronically steered OE-120/UPX antenna group for shipboard identification and air traffic management.

The BAE Systems OE-120 antennas for shipboard radar is an electronically steerable antenna that shipboard operators can redirect within 50 microseconds to interrogate any target on the horizon. The antenna array supports IFF interrogator as well as air traffic control beacon systems, and is designed for surface ships and land-based installations.

This contract is for eight OE-120/UPX antenna group systems -- six for the Navy, and two for Canada; four OE-120 retrofit kits for the Navy; and two OE-120 installation and checkout kits for Canada.

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The OE-120B antenna groups offer instantaneous multiple-target identification for use against today’s sophisticated air threats. It accommodates all standard IFF modes.

The antenna system adapts to land and sea applications to support a variety of mission environments, and its electronically steered system architecture offers increased reliability and reduced maintenance. Its array configuration allows for smooth performance degradation in the event of a failure.

The OE-120 electronically steerable antenna is suitable for the Navy's Ticonderoga-class cruisers (CG 47), the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG 51), the Wasp-class amphibious assault ships (LHD 1), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks (LPD 17), aircraft carriers, and the Japanese Kongo-class destroyer (FMS DD 173) -- a version of the U.S. Burke-class destroyer.

Related: BAE Systems to provide electronically steerable IFF antennas for surface warship air defense

The AN/UPX-29(V) shipboard IFF interrogator, for which the OE-120B antenna is part, distinguishes friendly vessels and aircraft nearby during combat operations.

The AN/UPX-29(V) can process and store as man as 400 targets, provide instantaneous interrogation on a target within 25 microseconds, electronically evaluate Mode 4 replies, call up operator-designated target information, display IFF targets synchronized with as many as four radar systems at 22 displays, and interface with shipboard computers.

At the heart of the OE-120 system is the AS-3134/UPX antenna array, which consists of 64 vertical radiating dipole antenna element pairs arranged in a circle on the ship's mast. The system uses electronic beam steering to scan all areas around the ship. The dipole antenna element pairs can produce either directional or omnidirectional beam patterns.

Related: Navy chooses circular antenna array from BAE Systems for shipboard identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) system

The system can aim its RF energy at any target of interest located at any point on the horizon within microseconds. Operators also can scan the antenna's output rapidly over a designated sector of interest. During normal surveillance operations the antenna group scans the horizon at 90 revolutions per second.

The OE-120's CV-3372/UPX antenna positioner receives commands from the C-10063/UPX controller, distributes RF power to the radiators, and digitally controls the system's output mode and boresight direction. The system's C-10063/UPX antenna controller, meanwhile, is located below decks and translates synchronized data continuously from the ship's environmental sensors.

On this contract, BAE Systems engineers will do the work in Nashua, N.H., and should be finished by January 2027. For more information contact Naval Air Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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