Northrop Grumman and the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have demonstrated simultaneous multifunction radio frequency (RF) resource management and antenna sharing during testing of a prototype system at NRL's test facility in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.
The Low-Level Resource Allocation Manager (LLRAM) programme forms one part of the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) long-running Integrated Topside (InTop) Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) programme.
Building on previous multifunction RF systems research, the InTop INP was established to develop a scalable family of integrated multifunction apertures and electronic subsystems able to support radar, electronic warfare (EW), information operations (IO), and communications functions.
Developed by Northrop Grumman since 2011, the LLRAM manages resource allocation, prioritisation, calibration, and frequency deconfliction system-wide to optimise RF performance. It has been integrated with a Multibeam EW/IO/COMMS advanced development model (ADM), also build by Northrop Grumman. The EW/IO/COMMS system prototype leverages four wide-band active electronically scanned array antennas (low-band transmit/receive and high-band transmit/receive) covering C - mmW bands.
According to Northrop Grumman, the company completed a critical test of the LLRAM and Multibeam EW/IO/COMMS ADM during September 2019 at NRL's Chesapeake Bay Detachment. "LLRAM in conjunction with the [EW/IO/COMMS] system demonstrated the simultaneous sharing of a single antenna, while flexing its adaptable size and antenna pattern capabilities, and performing a mission that would have required multiple dedicated antennas in the past," the company said in a 28 October statement, adding: "The significance of the test is to enable future antenna reductions on ships that are already capacity-constrained, allowing for more advanced…capabilities in an ever-increasingly complex [RF] environment."
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