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Activity title

Optimised and Reconfigurable Antennas for Future Vehichle Electronic Counter Measures

Activity Reference

SCI-304

Panel

Systems Concepts and Integration

Security Classification

Other

Status

Active

Activity type

RTG

Start date

2018

End date

2021

Keywords

multipurpose jamming, optimized jamming, platform integration, reconfigurable antennas, Vehicular ECM antennas

Background

Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (RCIEDs) are a serious threat to the safety and security of military personnel for many NATO nations. The threat of RCIEDs can be significantly reduced through the use of Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) systems that prevent initiating signals from getting through to the receiver, thereby preventing detonation. ECM provides a mission critical capability for military forces against a threat technology which is becoming ever more technically advanced. This means that NATO nations are continuously looking to improve ECM coverage. Detailed specifications for future national ECM systems are currently under consideration, with the NATO Team of Experts (ToE) on ECM for RCIEDs functioning as a high level forum for this topic. Within the ECM 'enterprise', the significant development and testing efforts that are typically undertaken to optimize techniques and waveforms should extend to antennas and their configuration, to lead to optimized coverage. To date, almost all ECM antennas deployed are monopoles/dipoles which are mounted vertically on top of vehicles which can easily lead to negative effects. Co-existence with communications antennas creates more issues. Furthermore, many commercially available ECM antennas were developed using communications requirements, even though those requirements are fundamentally different. The ToE on ECM for RCIEDs identified the need to improve the knowledge on new types of antennas and new configurations such as optimized antennas integrated in/around the structure of the vehicle or reconfigurable antennas considerably. This RTG is formed to overcome this knowledge gap and to cope with the scale of the technical challenges. This RTG will co-operate with more focused activities to establish the most appropriate technical solutions.

Objectives

This RTG aims to comprehensively improve the current state of technology readiness for practical antenna implementations for vehicle deployed ECM: • Establish in detail the feasibility, performance improvements and limitations of optimised, integrated, and reconfigurable antenna designs for future vehicular ECM systems. This should bring the following achievements: • Innovative and optimized ECM antennas • Better understanding of limitations (of current and future ECM systems) • Significantly improved NATO vehicular jamming / ECM capabilities

Topics

At the time of writing, no specialized technical design for ECM antennas exists. To achieve the scientific objectives and expected achievements, the task group will study the following areas: • Exhaustive listing of all required characteristics of the Rx and Tx ECM antenna system: frequency range(s), polarisation, coverage areas, radiation patterns, power handling, etc. • Investigate potential performance advantages through separating the Tx and Rx antenna architectures (e.g., roof-mounted wideband omnidirectional antennas to maximize receive power and multiple directive antennas for transmit). - Efficient spatial spreading of the ECM power to focus toward the potential threat area - Isolation between multiple systems (reduce strong mutual coupling effects) - Static configuration of antenna radiation patterns (e.g., unable to reconfigure the antenna if required) - Reduction of proportion of power being reflected from the terminal or being dissipated in the antenna structure - Cope with limited roof area and mechanical limitations • Investigate designs and techniques for reconfigurable antennas for vehicle platforms, considering all platform-related structural constraints (mechanical, electrical, etc.). • Review of all potential antenna system candidates meeting the antenna requirements. • Accurate electromagnetic modelling of candidate antennas in free space and on installed platform as appropriate. This will include both near and far field analysis • Possible benchmarking and comparison of simulated antennas on the platforms by different electromagnetic solvers • Prototyping, measuring and demonstrating the best antenna solution(s) on various land platforms. • Detailed literature reviews will be conducted frequently. Platform effects are also a key consideration on RF delivery performance. Typically, as a platform becomes electrically larger, interaction effects between the platform and omnidirectional antennas will increase which is a further contributing factor to inefficiencies in RF power delivery. The study will wholly define the nature of the antennas, the concepts to be taken forward and the likely numbers necessary. Detailed system level requirements will be considered to avoid compromising ECM system performance through the design or placement of any alternative antenna configuration.

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