DARPA Transitions Next-Generation Phased Array System to Support Future Defense R&D


Reading time ( words)

DARPA announced that a first-of-its-kind sensor system developed under the Arrays at Commercial Timescales – Integration and Validation (ACT-IV) program has transitioned to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for continued advancement and experimentation. Northrop Grumman, the primary research team on the ACT-IV program, facilitated the transition of the advanced digital active electronically scanned array (AESA) to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH.

ACT-IV is a novel multifunction AESA system that is capable of simultaneously performing different operations, such as radar, electronic warfare (EW), and communications functions, at different modes. At the system’s core is an advanced semiconductor device – or common module – fabricated in commercial silicon that was originally developed by DARPA’s Arrays at Commercial Timescales (ACT) program. Now concluded, the ACT program sought to shorten phased array design cycles and simplify the process of upgrading fielded capabilities. The ACT common module – a digitally-interconnected building block from which large systems can be formed – was developed as a more efficient alternative to substantial undertakings with traditional monolithic array systems. In addition to the ACT module, the ACT-IV system employs a computational model capable of efficiently receiving and computing on the significant amounts of input data generated by each module.

“With the ACT-IV program, we were able to realize the vision of ACT by developing an advanced sensor system with ACT common modules,” said Tom Rondeau, the program manager leading ACT-IV. “The resulting system went through extensive testing and demonstrations to validate its capabilities, proving out a sixth-generation array with a scalable, customizable core that could work across varied application spaces. Transitioning the ACT-IV system to AFRL will enable continued exploration of digital, multifunctional RF technologies for defense needs.”

Another critical aspect of the ACT-IV program was the creation of a third-party developer community to enable continued use and advancement of the technologies. Teams from government research labs and university-affiliated research centers developed a curriculum and training program that provides developers and researchers with the necessary knowledge and know-how to continue building on the work of the ACT-IV program. The growing community has already generated a number of tools and applications, including a more agile software development model for RF phased arrays.

At the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the ACT-IV system will become a Department of Defense (DoD)-wide asset for testing and experimentation with new modes of radar, communications, sensing, and EW. The software, algorithms, and capabilities developed on the program will also transition to next-generation multifunction RF systems to support advanced defense development programs and a future open-architecture environment.

Share




Suggested Items

Georgia Tech Leads Effort to Strengthen State’s Defense Manufacturing Industry

12/29/2021 | Georgia Tech
Department of Defense grant enables collaboration with Spelman College, Technical College System of Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development in pilot project

DoD Faces Growing Risks from Reliance on Lead in Electronics

12/13/2021 | Chris Peters, USPAE
Like a cancer that spreads untreated until it becomes an urgent problem, the U.S. defense community is facing a small but growing problem that is increasingly undermining U.S. military readiness and technological dominance. The problem is lead—specifically, the lead-alloy solders that traditionally have been used to attach electronic components to printed circuit boards (PCBs). Over the last 15 years, the commercial electronics industry has shifted to lead-free solders, prompted by environmental health regulations in Europe and elsewhere. However, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its contractors never made the switch and are still heavily reliant on leaded solders. Now, leaded electronics are becoming harder to find and more outdated.

NASA Innovations Will Help U.S. Meet Sustainable Aviation Goals

09/10/2021 | NASA
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson joined federal government and industry leaders Thursday at a White House event highlighting sustainable aviation and the administration’s focus on medium- and long-term goals to combat climate change.



Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.