Chapter 14Airborne High Precision Locationof Radiating Sources1




14.1. Introduction

Sensors onboard military aircraft must provide a large number of functions. For instance for radar, functions include search, tracking, and ground imagery (SAR); while electronic warfare functions include search, identification and location of transmitting sources, counter-measures, etc.

One possible solution is to assign one antenna to each of these functions. However, this leads to a great increase in antennas numbers and to implementation problems due to the small number of possible antenna locations on a combat aircraft. Furthermore, the implementation of an increasing number of antennas on an aircraft may impact its aerodynamic performances, and also cause an increase in its radar cross-section. Future designs will probably rely on conformal, broadband antennas. Such designs will yield new benefits: enlarged field of view, simplified radomes, higher antenna gain when large surfaces can be used, and will probably imply sharing one single antenna between various functions (i.e. radar + electronic warfare + communications on a single broad band antenna).

However, this design leads to some specific problems: antenna integration to aircraft skin, complex wiring, problems which are presently addressed by the various manufacturers. Another crucial problem arises: being implemented closely to aircraft structure, antennas are submitted to various deformations and vibrations coming from the platform. ...

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