In many vertical lift aircraft applications, such as military attach helicopters, there is a critical need to eliminate drag and antenna count in the limited real estate available, and also augment communication capabilities. Some HF antennas may be incorporated into or closely integrated with the body panels of such platforms, but that incorporation consumes substantial surface area, leaving limited surface area to incorporate other, higher frequency antennas. Various on-board systems require dedicated antenna structures that may add substantial drag and complexity, and in some also require directionality.
In one aspect, embodiments of the inventive concepts disclosed herein are directed to a system of spiral antennas incorporated into aircraft body panels. The spiral antennas may be slot or printed material antennas, or cavity backed for unidirectional communication.
In a further aspect, the spiral antennas are operated in concert as a steerable array.
In at least one embodiment, the spiral antennas are utilized for various signal functions including communications.
It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and should not restrict the scope of the claims. The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts disclosed herein and together with the general description, serve to explain the principles.
The numerous advantages of the embodiments of the inventive concepts disclosed herein may be better understood by those skilled in the art by reference to the accompanying figures in which:
Before explaining at least one embodiment of the inventive concepts disclosed herein in detail, it is to be understood that the inventive concepts are not limited in their application to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components or steps or methodologies set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. In the following detailed description of embodiments of the instant inventive concepts, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of the inventive concepts. However, it will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of the instant disclosure that the inventive concepts disclosed herein may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features may not be described in detail to avoid unnecessarily complicating the instant disclosure. The inventive concepts disclosed herein are capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
As used herein a letter following a reference numeral is intended to reference an embodiment of the feature or element that may be similar, but not necessarily identical, to a previously described element or feature bearing the same reference numeral (e.g., 1, 1a, 1b). Such shorthand notations are used for purposes of convenience only, and should not be construed to limit the inventive concepts disclosed herein in any way unless expressly stated to the contrary.
Further, unless expressly stated to the contrary, “or” refers to an inclusive or and not to an exclusive or. For example, a condition A or B is satisfied by anyone of the following: A is true (or present) and B is false (or not present), A is false (or not present) and B is true (or present), and both A and B are true (or present).
In addition, use of the “a” or “an” are employed to describe elements and components of embodiments of the instant inventive concepts. This is done merely for convenience and to give a general sense of the inventive concepts, and “a” and “an” are intended to include one or at least one and the singular also includes the plural unless it is obvious that it is meant otherwise.
Finally, as used herein any reference to “one embodiment,” or “some embodiments” means that a particular element, feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the inventive concepts disclosed herein. The appearances of the phrase “in some embodiments” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, and embodiments of the inventive concepts disclosed may include one or more of the features expressly described or inherently present herein, or any combination of sub-combination of two or more such features, along with any other features which may not necessarily be expressly described or inherently present in the instant disclosure.
Broadly, embodiments of the inventive concepts disclosed herein are directed to a system of antennas, each having disparity operating frequencies, incorporated into the same aircraft body panels. HF antennas define loops with large internal areas; additional higher frequency antennas are disposed within that large internal area. Antennas operating in the same frequency range, disposed on different parallel surfaces are operated in concert as a steerable array.
Spiral antenna elements 100, 102 may be disposed to produce horizontal cardioid end fire patters 104, 106 or disposed to produce vertical cardioid patters 108, 110. Horizontal cardioid end fire patters 104, 106 enable yaw plane or azimuth plane interferometry. Likewise, vertical cardioid end fire patters 108, 110 enable pitch plane or azimuth plane interferometry.
Directional spiral antenna elements 100, 102 enable air-to-ground and air-to-air direction finding/electronic support measures.
In at least one embodiment, the alternative antenna elements 306, 308, 310, 312 may comprise ultra-high frequency annular slot antennas 310 configured for vertical polarization; ultra-high frequency loop antennas 312 configured for horizontal polarization; and/or meandering dipole antennas 306, 308.
Interferometric arrays that utilized spiral antenna elements 508, 510, 512 (i.e., 3 different arrays) may be spaced according to an intended operating frequency range; for example, spiral antenna elements 508, 510, 512 may be spaced five wavelengths, nine wavelengths, and 6.6 wavelengths from neighboring spiral antenna elements 508, 510, 512; in another exemplary embodiment, two elements may have half wavelength spacing.
In at least one embodiment, a first set of spiral antenna elements 706 are disposed on a horizontal surface of an aircraft and a second set of spiral antenna elements 708 are disposed on a vertical surface of the aircraft. The first set of spiral antenna elements 706 are configured for air-to-ground interferometry while the second set of spiral antenna elements 708 are configured for air-to-air, air-to-ground, and ground-to-ground interferometry, as CONOPS dictate. Furthermore, a third set of spiral antenna elements 710, disposed on horizontal surfaces, vertical surfaces, or both, are configured for communications.
While specific embodiment described herein are directed toward communication and direction-finding Interferometry, it may be appreciated that embodiments are also useful for UHF foliage penetration radar (FOPEN).
It is believed that the inventive concepts disclosed herein and many of their attendant advantages will be understood by the foregoing description of embodiments of the inventive concepts disclosed, and it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the form, construction, and arrangement of the components thereof without departing from the broad scope of the inventive concepts disclosed herein or without sacrificing all of their material advantages; and individual features from various embodiments may be combined to arrive at other embodiments. The form herein before described being merely an explanatory embodiment thereof, it is the intention of the following claims to encompass and include such changes. Furthermore, any of the features disclosed in relation to any of the individual embodiments may be incorporated into any other embodiment.
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