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Lockheed Martin develops new hybrid antenna

25th August 2021 - 17:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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The Wide-Angle ESA Fed Reflector (WAEFR) antenna. (Photo: Lockheed Martin.)

Lockheed Martin has rapidly prototyped, tested and validated the new multi-purpose antenna over a period of a few months.

Lockheed Martin has developed a new type of dish antenna that can be utilised by satellites, ground terminals and space-based 5G systems.

The Wide-Angle ESA-Fed Reflector (WAEFR) offers a 190% increase coverage compared to traditional phased array antennas by combining a phased array electronically steerable antenna (ESA) and a parabolic dish.

Lockheed Martin Space VP of advanced programme development Chris Herring said: ‘We adopted a commercial mindset to quickly mature this technology and discovered there were multiple use cases and applications that could benefit from this new hybrid antenna,’

Lockheed developed the antenna as part of broader research into military 5G technology that the company says will ‘optimise and securely connect’ warfighting platforms and enable the US Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) efforts.

Lockheed Martin Space associate technical fellow Thomas Hand said the benefit of WAEFR was ‘accomplishing more mission with fewer resources’.

He added: ‘While state-of-the-art ESA solutions can address more demanding link performance, capacity, and data rates using multiple agile analogue beams, they do so at a premium.’

Lockheed Martin added the new type of antenna would also benefit broader ‘communications and ISR communities’ by offering a more reliable scanning solution.

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