Welcome to the first edition of our brand new ‘Friday interview’ where we question some key individuals in the world of How it Works. First up is an interview with Sajad Haq, Group Leader – Materials and Structures Capability at BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre.
We chat about the new types of antenna that are making their way into modern transportation.
Why do the antennas need to be changed?
It is an alternative design option that may help to improve performance either aerodynamically, in terms of weight reduction, or space saving.
How will they help?
The antenna system will provide a greater degree of design freedom, and potentially provide greater antenna performance, reduce signature, lighter weight, provide space saving and may allow lower cost systems and integration.
What is the technology going into the antennas?
The technology is based on novel composite materials with tailored electromagnetic properties
How are they superior to a conventional flat lens or parabolic lens? (the antennas currently in use)
Considerable space saving is achieved over a parabolic lens, e.g. the ability to manufacture the lens in a thinner form. Complexities in fabricating complex shapes are avoided.( A lens focusses radiation and conventionally they are shaped to allow them to do so)
Is it for military or commercial use?
The technology is applicable for both, this project has a military focus but has commercially applications too.
What next for the BAE systems antenna?
The real answer is to try and get more funding to align the basic R&D to a real platform and then design the antenna with that in mind. Which kind of translates to some the following options:-
– Further maturation and possible integration into product.
– Further testing in representative environment
– Greater understanding of cost implications
– Identify systems benefits when integrated on product
– Take it higher up the maturity ladder (currently is a research project at successful proof of concept stage)
– Identify real product insertion opportunities and work with platform designers to consider relative advantages and disadvantages compared to existing technologies.