Air Force

Multiband communications and repeater system (MCaRS)

System melding omni-directional low-frequency with directed high-frequency communications for air-to-air communications

Communications

Label 250 is the low-frequency non-directional mode; 380 is the high-frequency directive mode. 240 shows an aircraft transmitting simultaneously in both modes.

There is an ongoing need to bridge the gap between low-frequency omnidirectional communications systems with high-frequency low-probability of intercept (LPI) systems. Current translation efforts involve multiple antenna systems that are cumbersome and cannot be installed on the platforms which could gain the most use of them. It would be preferable to have a system capable of operating simultaneously on both the low- and high-frequency bandwidths while maintaining a small overall footprint. Until recently the antenna portion of such a system was lacking.

To address this need, Air Force researchers have developed a unique means of using existing antenna systems coupled to novel transmit and receive equipment.  The technology utilizes a conformal pixelated patch-shaped or display-type antenna, whose overall geometry has a resonant frequency at the lower frequency band such as 960 MHz and a pixel element capable of beam steering above 5 GHz. This allows dual-band use of the same antenna with the low-frequency band using the entire patch (all radiating elements) in a standard manner while the high-frequency band is taking advantage of the reconfigurable nature (selectable radiating elements) of the antenna.

This US application number 20160329917 is related to US application numbers 20170237449, 20160329916, and 20170005402.

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