The US Navy has been pursuing a new Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) concept, seeking to “redefine” its future force development and operations, increasingly integrating diverse autonomous unmanned vehicles and enhancing the real-time networking of surface, air and undersea assets.
Newly-patented beam-forming antenna technologies and circuits are touted as set to greatly enhance the US Navy’s capabilities via a recently- awarded Defense Innovation Unit “evaluation and development” contract with Isotropic Systems, writes Warrior Maven.
According to Isotropic CEO John Finney, the ambitious plan is to “fuse multi-band, multi-orbit commercial and military capacity to deliver intelligence data at the tactical edge over a single platform.”
Over the past years, the US Navy has been pivoting towards boosting attack technology with a new generation of advanced weapons throughout the surface fleet, seeking to arm vessels for high-end warfare, as part of its emerging Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) tactical attack strategy.
The concept presupposes improved targeting of enemy ships, as well as thr detection and interception of incoming ballistic missiles.
One of the principal tenets of the DMO is fortifying offensive attack maneuver via advanced sensors dispersed across vast stretches of ocean, and arming the fleet with new generation long-range weapons.
Empowered Single Antenna Functionality
The new technology single, multi-beam surface mounted, software-definable antenna, emitting a precise and narrowly configured electronic signal to an array of satellites simultaneously will offer enhanced precision with the added bonus of consuming less on-board power. The antenna will rely upon Isotropic’s innovative signal-forming optical lens technology, according to Isotropic Vice President of Development Brian Billman.
Billman underscored that while phased array antennas are still effective and widely operational, the new antenna boasts a first-of-its-kind optical lens designed to emit the precise beams to several satellites, sustaining a reliable signal across multiple bands simultaneously.
The downside of phased array antennas, says Billman, is not only that they rely upon a wider aperture, thus consuming more circuitry and electrical power, but their plummeting effectiveness when broken into two beams simultaneously.
Hugely boosting the single antenna functionality, the optical lenses do not need to all operate at the same time, as several beam transmissions can connect with several satellites – at diverse altitudes and of varying size – simultaneously.
In another bonus for warfare operational resiliency, unlike larger, phased array emissions, several narrowly configured, dispersed electronic signals emit a lower and less detectable signature, says the expert.
Hailing its antenna design, an Isotropic Systems company statement underscored that it was intended to enable “seamless make-before-break switching between satellites in multiple orbits, and continuous connectivity during turbulent pitch-and-roll conditions facing vessels traversing rough seas”.
According to the contract, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) will begin prototyping the antenna technology, engineered to support “multiple links over multiple bands of satellite capacity,” including S, C, Ka, Ku, X and Q-band connections, writes the outlet.
In conclusion, it adds that the “evaluation and development” contract with Isotropic Systems will seek to recreate diverse wartime contingencies, such as operating in challenging conditions of rough seas, high winds and electromagnetic interference.