This 17-year old advanced technologies engineering company designs, develops, integrates, and delivers radio frequency (RF) communication, radar, AESA, and Electronic Warfare Systems for commercial and government customers. Forward deployed USMC units utilize High Frequency (HF) and Satellite Communication (SATCOM) radios for Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communication purposes with Navy AFLOAT networks to support operations ashore. Next generation troposcatter systems can provide high data rate communications in the ground BLOS environment but do not work well with unstable moving platforms (ship). SATCOM systems are heavy, power intensive and suffer from low availability/low data rates. New approaches and techniques, not using SATCOM, troposcatter or HF radios, are sought to provide a high availability/high data rate BLOS communications channel. FIRST RF’s approach is to utilize modular (expeditionary) systems to provide multiple Line of Sight (LOS) communication links to achieve the desired BLOS capability. Expeditionary, the systems can be broken into components that weigh no more than 20 lbs. each.
GPS antennas on Navy reentry flight test vehicles provide position and velocity data. The navigation signal is lost for portions of the flight path due to plasma layers. FIRST RF introduction of an improved GPS antenna with greater bandwidth and efficiency provides increased access to the navigation signal. Greater bandwidth provides peak performance in the operating band in the presence of center frequency shifts due to temperature, since the GPS band is still in the wider antenna passband after this shift. Greater efficiency provides higher gain and better link margin. The reduced complexity of this GPS antenna increases the reliability, which leads to higher mission success probability. Since this antenna has already passed environmental testing for the flight profile, the risk for this new GPS antenna is low.
Existing Common Data Link (CDL) and Tactical CDL (TCDL) antennas tend to be either high-gain mechanically pointed reflector antennas or low-gain omnidirectional antennas. This new modular FIRST RF Corporation airborne Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna provides high data rate beams to provide ad hoc networking to both ground and air nodes. Most AESA antennas are designed for a specific aircraft, but this new modular AESA antenna design can be scaled from small unmanned to large manned aircraft. The high data rate beams connect multiple ground and/or air links rather than single links for legacy antennas. This AESA antenna heritage has many flight hours for reduced risk in transition of this new modular version to air platforms from small unmanned to large manned aircraft.
Current Common Data Link (CDL) and Tactical CDL (TCDL)communication links from aircraft use high-gain mechanically pointed directional antennas and/or low-gain omnidirectional antennas for air-to-ground links. This new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna provides multiple high-gain directional beams to provide ad hoc networking for air-to-ground and air-to-air nodes. This AESA antenna is designed to take advantage of the additional spectrum in Ku-band to provide more links with greater data rates than for the original smaller spectrum in this frequency band. Electronic steering of the antenna maintains multiple high data rate links from dynamic airborne platforms. Many hours of flight testing on the earlier reduced spectrum version of this AESA design provides a low risk path to aircraft integration for this new wideband, full-spectrum AESA antenna.
FIRST RF is an advanced technologies company specializing in antennas and radio frequency (RF) systems in communications, radar, AESAs and Electronic Warfare. Under contract N68335-18-C-0566; topic number N131-007 High Gain Common Data Link (CDL) Antennas for Networking UAV Node, a multi-beam Ku-Band phased array system will demonstrate multi-node point-to-point network which allows multiple deployed units on land, air, or sea to transfer mission-critical information without relying on potentially vulnerable or oversubscribed space assets. Upon completion of airborne testing, a multi-beam TCDL antenna and radio communication system will have demonstrated a modular, low-cost, light weight, electronically steerable and multi-beam system capable of maintaining air-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-ship data links which will provide greater access to ISR and improves overall situational awareness to the fleet.
FIRST RF, an advanced technologies company specializing in antennas and radio frequency (RF) systems, is developing a low-SWaP, multi-beam Ku array system technology capable of full two-way multi-channel communications incorporating 360 degrees of TCDL networked communication links. This phased array system will enable single star network distribution and static/dynamic Internet Protocol address routing for up to 6 high-speed channels simultaneously without reliance on space communication assets. The System’s low-SWaP, combined with its innovative, low-cost SMArT card architecture, make it ideally suited for integration on small UAV platforms (i.e. Fire Scout) serving as communication nodes to rapidly transfer mission critical information (i.e. imagery, data, command and control) up to a slant range of 110 nautical miles. FIRST RF seeks an air-platform partner for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle system integration.
The Integrated System for Avoidance of Ice-producing Airborne Hazards (ISAIAH) is a low-SWaP, passive, aircraft ice detection system. FIRST RF is a technologies company specializing in antennas and radio frequency (RF) systems. FIRST RF’s partner, Radiometrics, manufactures radiometric weather profiling systems. ISAIAH enables detection and avoidance of airborne icing hazards, reducing aircraft loss risk – thereby increasing the probability of mission success. FIRST RF’s partner Radiometrics Corporation has world-exclusive capability in supercooled liquid water (SLW) detection. FIRST RF and Radiometrics will transition this capability to airborne platforms. Upward-looking and horizontal SLW detection has been demonstrated in Phase I. Airborne SLW detection is about to be demonstrated in Phase II. FIRST RF seeks an air-platform partner for the integration of the ISAIAH system onto airborne systems.
FIRST RF’s sense-and-avoid radar system is a breakthrough sensor system which allows unmanned aerial systems (UASs) developed by the Navy (and other branches of the US Military) to provide improved mission flexibility in the battlefield and also comply with the collision-avoidance requirements set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow UASs operate within domestic airspace. Target platforms include rotary-wing and fixed-wing UASs, including the MQ-8 FireScout and the MQ-4C Triton. FIRST RF’s SAA phased array will enable unprecedented support to military missions (including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and situational awareness), as well as domestic applications (including homeland security, law enforcement, and firefighting). A product-focused company, FIRST RF provides our customers with concept-to-deployment support of advanced antenna and radio frequency (RF) systems technologies.