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Activity title

Multifunction RF Systems

Activity Reference



Sensors & Electronics Technology

Security Classification




Activity type


Start date


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Active Electronically Steered Arrays, Communications, Electronic Attack, Electronic Support, Radar


Modern military platforms, such as aircraft and navy warfighters, require increasingly higher levels of capability in the RF systems that provide radar, communications, electronic attack (EA) and electronic support (ES) functions. The result has been a proliferation of antennas and associated hardware on these platforms. The notion of multifunction RF (MFRF) systems has drawn considerable interest as an approach to reversing this trend. In a MFRF system, RF functions are consolidated within a shared set of electronics and antenna apertures that utilize active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology. This is a relatively new area of research, and an investigation of the benefits and drawbacks of MFRF Systems remains to be carried out.


The objective of this Exploratory Team is to exchange information on key national activities in MFRF systems and to formulate a collaborative research activity in this area. The end products will be a TAP and ToR for a future RTG on MFRF systems that will be submitted to the SET Panel for approval.


MFRF systems consider multiple RF functions, including radar, ES, EA and communications, on a shared set of electronics and antenna apertures. The following major scientific topics will be considered by the ET. 1. Measures of effectiveness and measures of performance for MFRF systems 2. MFRF system design concepts 3. Single transmit/receive arrays vs separate transmit and receive arrays 4. Wideband vs multiband operation 5. Element-level vs subarray-level digitization and waveform generation 6. Software Defined Radio for MFRF 7. Techniques for resource allocation management 8. Spectrum management challenges and solutions for MFRF systems 9. Modelling and simulation of MFRF systems 10. Evaluation and testing of MFRF systems 11. Artificial Intelligence for MFRF systems 12. Operational benefits of MFRF Systems The topics to be considered under a future RTG will be a subset of the above topics, and will depend on the activities of interest within the participating nations. Some of the above topics were considered at the SET-SCI-230 RSM on Reconfigurable and Scalable Multi-Function RF Systems in a Congested EM Spectrum. Whereas SET-SCI-230 was a one-time event, this ET is focused on defining a longer-term RTG collaborative activity in MFRF systems. This activity will build upon results from SET-223 on Adaptive Radar Resource Management, SET-227 on Cognitive Radar, and SET-212 on Multifunction Radar Test and Evaluation. The proposed ET will have a particular focus on MFRF Systems.

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