With a large part of show season finally behind us (MWC, CTIA, IMS), our editorial thoughts turn to August, September and October. With the military microwave supplement in August, Microwave Journal’s Security and Defense forum at European Microwave Week (previewed in the September issue) and the Government Electronics issue in October, late summer/fall has become our season for focusing on aerospace and defense markets and technology.
Although the microwave industry is continually developing solutions for this market, reserving a specific period for heightened coverage (in this case an entire quarter) emphasizes how truly interlocked our technology is with the demands of today's defense and communication systems.
A quick look at some of the papers presented at this year’s International Microwave Symposium illustrates this deep connection. For example, the Tuesday morning session on advances in RF MEMS ruggedness and reliability featured three (out of five) papers funded by DARPA’s Harsh Environment Robust Micromechanical Technology (HERMIT) program. At the system level, the session on advances in broadband communication systems featured a talk on an Aircraft cabin-integrated 57-64 GHz point to multipoint WLAN communication system including RF chip set, LTCC-integrated antennas and modules. The big story for GaN this year may have been its phenomenal adoption in the commercial world after years of support from the defense sector (see MWJ June’s GaN Panel cover story). These are but a few examples of how defense needs drive microwave technology and how microwave technology enables defense capabilities.
And while ITAR may have toned down the A&D products/solutions on display at IMS, there wasn’t a lack of exhibitors ready to discuss their plans to address this market with hardware and software, from filters, power amplifiers and sub-assemblies to test equipment and radar system simulation software. Some vendors are witnessing immediate demand for products as defense spenders that held off past purchases are under pressure to replenish dwindling inventory and/or spend money before budgets are taken away.
Interest in sharing information about new products and technologies among vendors has resulted in a healthy backlog of editorial content planned for the near future. In the August issue and military microwave supplement, the Journal will feature special reports on wireless sensor networks (for potential industrial and military applications , tracking satellite interference, the advantages of antennas at millimeter-wave frequencies, satellite switch matrices, TVAC satellites, the history and future trends of AESA radars, reducing the cost of SIGINT ISR test, SATCOM links, X-band GaN 100 w amps and more details on replacing obsolete A&D test equipment.
Our September issue features our annual focus on European Microwave Week (EuMW) with special reports on that market and the technology specific to the continents commercial wireless needs as well as defense issues. The cover story looks at the spectrum capacity crunch in Europe that is brought on by the demand for mobile internet access, particularly for the demanding data rates of content such as mobile video access. The third annual defense and security forum, organized by Microwave Journal and the European Microwave Association , will take place at EuMW as an all day event with technical and business presentations from leading contractors, government agency representatives and vendors.
In October the Journal takes a look at what is inside a UAV from a microwave system perspective, what are the trends in component requirements, i.e. performance, size, weight and ruggedness. With the DoD shift toward using unmanned vehicles as the platform of choice for surveillance and strategic strikes against terrorists, the development and enhancement of these weapons is sure to continue for the foreseeable future. Other planned editorial includes interference hunting, state versus federal land mobile radio (LMR) systems and more.