Industry News Test and Measurement Channel

2009 AOC International Symposium Wrap Up

IED Defeat and UAVs still the priority

The 46th annual AOC International Symposium & Convention took place October 18-21, in Washington, DC, and was on hand to visit most of the microwave companies serving the EW world. The top priority in the EW sector is still IED defeat systems and the AOC show daily stated that more than 36,000 devices have been fielded. An estimated $628 M is expected to be spent on the JCREW program over the next 10 years. Battlefield SIGINT is also important, but does not seem to have as much priority as IED defeat as well as EW systems for UAVs. There is also a significant emphasis to update legacy protection on existing systems.

Here is what we saw at the various exhibiting companies that we visited:

Aeroflex had two divisions represented and showed off its custom designed integrated microwave assemblies including converters, generators, multipliers, receivers, switch filter banks, oscillators and synthesizers. The company was also showing demos of its broadband signal analyzer and recorder along with its broadband signal and environmental generator.

Agilent was displaying its handheld PRM-34 radio test set that meets or exceeds AN/PRM-34 specifications and is smaller, lighter and faster than others on the market. In addition, the company was showing its RF geolocation server software for TDOA geolocation of emitters. It extends the capabilities of a wide area network of RF sensors (which they also supply) with integrated real-time RF emitter geolocation and mapping.

Anaren was a Silver Sponsor and, building on its well-known expertise in passive solutions like beamformers and EW classics like DFDs and DRFMs, touted its new RF multichip module and IMA capabilities attributable to recently acquired microelectronics specialist MS Kennedy Corp. (Liverpool, NY) and Unicircuit Inc. (Littleton, CO), a source for high-precision PCB technology. The company also spotlighted its new line of military grade Xinger®-brand SM couplers.

Anatech was featuring its filter products and gave an hour-long talk on how to solve interference problems using RF and microwave filters. They offer cavity BPFs, LC BPFs, ceramic BPFs, LPF/HPF/band stop filters and custom designed solutions.

Anritsu Co. introduced a fast-switching microwave signal generator that utilizes an advanced VCO-based hardware architecture to achieve best-in-class frequency switching speed of 100 µsec per point. The fast switching speed, and a number of other high-performance specifications and design advantages, make it well suited for integration into automated test systems used in defense signal simulation and manufacturing ATE where minimum test time and maximum throughput is critical.

CAP Wireless was showing its innovative spatially combined solid state microwave power amplifiers. The company has platforms for 2-20, 4-18, 20-40 and 22-46 GHz delivering hundreds of watts of power CW, and up to 1 kilowatt pulsed. CAP now has smaller form factors available, all using the company's low loss 16 way broadband combining structure, which can use commercial or custom MMICs.

Cobham was represented by various divsions showing off the company's antennas, transmitters, integrated microwave assemblies and SIGINT receivers. They offer IED jammer systems and various other sensors.

I have to mention my friend, Jim Fallon, as he received the Life Achievement Award at the AOC Annual Awards Luncheon. He ran the AOC Convention a few years ago and did a fantastic job. He has dedicated his career to bringing EW technology to the field to save lives. At M/A-COM (now part of Cobham) he was instrumental in getting some of the first mobile IED defeat devices (Warlock Blue) manufactured and delivered to the field in record time to save more lives in the Iraqi War.

Comtech PST was showing off its new GaN 50 W power amplifier operating from 2.5 to 6 GHz enclosed in a 7.5 x 3 x 1.5" housing. It features 54 dB gain, -13 dBc harmonic rejection, operating voltage of 18-36 VDC and operating temperature of -40 to 85 degrees C.

CPI was showing its 150/200 W, 6 to 18 GHz mini TWT series. It is 1.75 lbs and 11.5 inches long. The company also had on display a 1.5/2 kW pulse TWT series, which is 4 lbs and 13.75 inches long.

e2v is first to market (commercially) with its 160 W, 2 to 18 GHz TWT with saturated gain of 38 dB. It is small and lightweight (only 400 g) and is designed for MIL-STD specifications. They also have a 100 W, 4.5 to 18 GHz model with saturated gain of 40 dB.

Elcom displayed several new broadband receivers with high dynamic range including a VHF/UHF model covering 20 to 3000 GHz, an airborne microwave DSP model covering 0.5 to 18 GHz and a microwave downcoverter/tuner covering 0.5 to 26.5 GHz. These models all have a full spectral display that is clear and easy to read.

Empower RF Systems was showing its portfolio of high power, broadband solid-state amplifiers and modules. They have GaN broadband amplifiers including a 1 to 3 GHz, 200 W model and a 2.5 to 6 GHz 50 W model.

EM Research was highlighting its HLX series hi-rel SMT synthesizers operating from 50 MHz to 12 GHz with up to 30% BW and phase noise less than -100 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz (1 GHz).

Endwave Defense Systems is now part of Microsemi, offering products up to 110 GHZ. Microsemi was featuring a 1000 W SiC transistor operating at 125 V from 406 to 450 MHz. It is designed for weather and long-range tracking radars. The company also had an 18 to 40 GHz successive detection log video amplifier to support ECM, radar warning receviers and SIGINT receivers.

ET Industries offers smart antennas unrestricted by frequency or standard. Their antenna systems address the limitations of current wireless deployments offering better capacity, throughput and spectral efficiency. They also offer a full range of components from 10 MHz to 65 GHz.

Gigatronics announced a microwave signal generator application software for EW signal simulation using its new series of fast switching microwave signal generators. The company also announced the addition of new switching systems designed for low loss and high isolation of RF signals in multiple antenna surveillance systems.

MicroSystems, a Herley company, showcased its high fidelity DRFMs. It was developed specifically for high fidelity radar and SAR/ISAR radar support sampling at a min. of 500 MHz, with 12 bit resolution for the A/D converter and 16 bit for the D/A converter.

Miteq was showwing off its low noise block downconverter that is a dual band downconverter covering the full 18 to 40 GHz band. An internal LO is provided that can lock to a 10 MHz input reference for phase coherent applications. A noise figure of 7 dB with 30 dB of conversion gain makes this an ideal frequency extender for receivers. It is 3x4x5.3 inches and operates over the -40 to +70 degree C temperature range.

Rohde & Schwarz had a large booth containing a wide variety of test and measurement solutions. The company offers direction finding solutions now up to 7.5 GHz, wideband detectors and exciters plus antennas up to 26.5 GHz. The wideband detector and exciter, WED0x0, has large realtime bandwidth, outstanding sensitivity and fast signal processing for interference tests on frequency agile, non-deterministic radio links in a real environment.

TMD was showing off its new compact, lightweight MPMs that are well suited for airborne ECM applications and can be customised to particular power and frequency requirements. This year the company launched a new model, the PTX8207, which has an enhanced power output of up to 140 W across a wider frequency range of 4.5 to 18.0 GHz.

Tru Sage was showing off a new baseband converter with broadband performance from 0.5 to 18 GHz, fixed output band of 750 to 1250 MHz, nine band input preselector and broad dynamic range of 60 dB. The company also was showing off a 2 to 5 GHz digital instantaneous frequency measurement unit with 12 bit resolution and 80 nx minumu pulse width. Tru is now offering a general purpose test cable that is ideally suited for production test stands and engineering lab environments.

X-COM was showing off its wideband acquisition, record and playback (WARP) system. It is an ultra-wideband direct RF digitizer, storage and playback system. It can capture and playback RF signals up to 3 GHz bandwidth with a resolution of 8 bits. It has a sampling rate of 12 GS/s and can be combined with a 40 terabyte modular storage unit.

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