12, September 2016

ESA Open Invitation To Tender AO8757
Open Date: 08/09/2016
Closing Date: 18/11/2016 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 16.1TT.79
Prog. Ref.: ARTES 5 Sub-El. 5.1
Budget Ref.: E/0505-01B – ARTES 5 Sub-El. 5.1
Tender Type: C
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Products: Satellites & Probes / RF / Microwave Communication (Platform and Payloads) / Antennas / Omnidirectional, Helix, Horn, Parabolic, Phased Arrays / Platform vs Payload
Technology Domains: Electromagnetic Technologies and Techniques / Antennas / Antenna Design Tools
Electromagnetic Technologies and Techniques / Antennas / Array Antennas and Standalone Radiators
Optoelectronics / Photonics / RF Photonics
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate Telecom & Integrated Application
Department: Telecom Technologies, Product& Systems Department
Division: Technologies and Product Division
Contract Officer: Rinaudo, Nicole
Industrial Policy Measure: C1 – Activities in open competition limited to the non-Larg
Last Update Date: 08/09/2016
Update Reason: Loaded a new Clarification (English version)

The objective of this activity is to assess the viability of the embedded antenna array with real time adaptive beam forming in small UAV wing structures. Higher level of integration enabling a high data rate capability for smaller UAVs that are foreseen to be used for civilian applications. The market for satellite communications for backhaul of UAV payload data is expected to grow considerably in the next years. ESA is already funding a number of technical activities in this area. Although the satcom requirement is obvious for larger UAVs, it is expected that the market for middle sized and smaller UAVs will grow the fastest, as there are fewer regulatory hurdles to overcome. However, a recurring obstacle is the accommodation of any satellite antenna into such smaller sized UAVs. Novel concepts shall therefore be explored and validated, also taking into account the compatibility with future systems such as Inmarsats Ka-band Global Express, or similar multi-spot beam Ka-band systems. An additional requirement is the support of future data links (possibly in the 5GHz band) for command control of UAVs in civilian airspace. Although using antenna arrays in the wings of UAVs has been proposed in literature, few concepts take into account the aerodynamic deformation of the wings. This has been shown to have a significant impact of the overall performance of the antenna in terms of beam pointing, beam width and side lobe level .In order to compensate for this, real-time adaptive beam forming is required. This would also allow for beam steering. Another challenge is the available volume. In order to optimize the available antenna real estate there is a need to tightly integrate the antenna with the mechanical structure of the UAV or use the structural components as radiating elements. The embedding of phased arrays in fuselage panels has many advantages: lighter weight, no access holes, no mounting hardware, improved RF performance, increased component integration, no aerodynamic drag. ARINC 791 develops new standards for Ku and Ka airborne satcom, which require the placement of advanced electronics (BFN) inside pressurised aircraft structures. In order to optimise performance, some novel antenna concepts would be needed, leading to higher data rates, extended communication range and reduced sensitivity to interference. Furthermore, the weight impact would be minimised. The activity would comprise:- Preliminary design- Critical bread boarding- Detailed design.-Manufacture of a prototype- Testing of prototype in realistic environment. Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to EMITS news “Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes”.

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