Conformal Wire Self-Structuring Antenna (CW-SSA)

Virtual EM has recently been awarded a Phase II STTR project funded by Navy (Contract No. N00014-14-C-0076, Topic No. N12A-T015), under which it is developing a wideband, high efficiency conformal wire antenna for use on medium-size UAVs in the HF/VHF band (1-80MHz). The antenna uses RF switches to reconfigure its aperture dynamically and is based on the patented Self-Structuring Antenna (SSA) technology. Antenna provides continues tuning across the 1-80MHz band and does not need an impedance matching network on the medium-to-upper band (15-80MHz). At the low end of the band (1-14MHz), the antenna resistance is too small to be connected directly to the radio and an adaptive impedance tuning network along with loading coils are inserted before the antenna for 50 Ohm matching to the radio. Wire mesh is selected for this antenna for light weight and for ease of printing on UAV’s composite body. The functional prototype is slated for mid-2015 and commitment of AAI Textron Systems, the manufacturer of the RQ-7B Shadow UAV, is secured for eventual integration of the antenna into a flight worthy UAV. Flight tests are scheduled for 2016.

SBIR TOPIC #: N12A-T015 (Phase II)