Mercury Systems has developed a down-converter and matching up-converter that enable the IF to be dynamically changed “on-the-fly.” The SpectrumSeries™ RFT-3200 down-converter and RFT-4200 up-converter are the industry’s first broadband frequency conversion products with this dynamic IF capability, according to the company. Designed to enable agile electronic warfare (EW) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) systems, these frequency converters have the embedded flexibility to respond to emerging electronic threats, with the interoperability to reduce future upgrade costs.

These customizable converters enable the IF settings to be optimized for specific digitizer and mission needs, maximizing storage capacity and sensitivity. For narrow signals, the user can reduce the IF bandwidth to minimize the noise and improve sensitivity to detect low amplitude signals that could be missed in the noise. The higher bandwidth settings are well-suited for efficiently scanning for threats and processing wideband signals.

This bandwidth optimization enables a single microwave converter to perform multiple functions — otherwise requiring multiple conventional frequency converters — while reducing system cost and size. Adjusting the IF bandwidth enables pairing the converter with various digitizers, so the same converter can be used through multiple system upgrade cycles, reducing total system cost.

The converters have a frequency response to 40 GHz, excellent phase noise characteristics and phase coherent configurations. The modular design approach enables rapid customization to meet program needs. The converters are available in several form factors, including 19 in. rack mount, ruggedized half ATR chassis and benchtop.

The SpectrumSeries converters support a complete SCPI-based command set using the unit’s Ethernet or serial ports.

Mercury is accepting orders for delivery during the first quarter of calendar year 2020.

“Deploying EW and ELINT systems with our novel architecture will enable the warfighter to perform real-time system optimization, improving their ability to detect, analyze and mitigate threats while also providing more information to key decision makers on the battlefield.” — Neal Austin, VP and GM of Mercury’s embedded sensor processing group