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Navy

High-precision alignment fixture

Multi-element product assembly, disassembly, repair, and adjustment platform

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Apparatus can be used to quickly assemble, disassemble, and repair odd shaped objects such as horn antennas shown above.

A horn antenna, or microwave horn, is a communications system component that consists of a flaring metal waveguide shaped like a horn to direct radio waves in a beam. Horns are widely used as antennas at ultrahigh frequency (UHF) and microwave frequencies, above 300 MHz. They are used as feed antennas (called feed horns) for larger antenna structures (such as parabolic antennas) as standard calibration antennas to measure the gain of other antennas, and as directive antennas. Horn antennas may have many internal partitions or subassemblies that must be properly aligned.

Manufacturing, disassembly, repair, and re-assembly of horn antennas with significant precision aligned sub-assemblies is difficult and time consuming. This is further complicated with cast elements which have some degree of variation requiring shimming. Due to the extensive use of such devices by the military, the Navy has developed a fixture for addressing this issue quickly and efficiently. The alignment jig and mounting surface of this platform enables a technician to work with an awkward-shaped component and ensures a better outcome of success.  Mounting pins, flanges, and clamps hold various elements in place. Small alignment changes can be made to individual sub-assemblies and various tolerances can be checked.

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