Conformal Load Bearing Antenna Programs

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Message posted by Smythers (Member since 01/10/2010) on March 12, 2023 at 5:53:24 PST:

An old PDF on conformal antenna. It is very relevant to unraveling the B-21's unusual asymmetrical structures built into each wing. Below is a small snippet, but I highly recommend reading the entire document.

The ultimate goal of CLAS research is for operators to realise the benefits described in Section
3.2. Practical expressions of this outcome may be summarised by considering the following
two paragraphs. The first is a description of the United States Air Force (USAF) SensorCraft
program while the second is a magazine article reporting comments made at the 2006 Farnborough Air Show.

SensorCraft is the major USAF research program focused on developing the next generation
ISR UAVs. It commenced in 1999 with plans to produce a prototype UAV around 2010 and
initial production around 2020 [9]. SensorCraft, shown in Fig. A1, will be a subsonic (350 kt),
high-altitude (60,000 ft) and long-range (>40 hours) UAV fitted with sensors that allow it to
perform air-to-air and air-to-ground ISR missions across a wide range of the electromagnetic
spectrum. Sensors will include foliage penetrating UHF radar operating at hundreds of MHz, tracking radars operating at 1-20 GHz and infrared/optical sensors. A technology that is critical for the SensorCraft to achieve its performance targets is CLAS. Integration will allow these sensor suites to become part of the wing rather than “parasitic” loads bolted onto the
airframe [11].

At the 2006 Farnborough Air Show it was claimed that, “the next-generation unmanned
combat aircraft are going to vary wildly from those proposed by Boeing (X-45), Lockheed Martin (Polecat) and Northrop Grumman (X-47)”…”the ability to build conformal active electronically scanned array radars and power them with small energy sources will allow
unmanned combat aircraft to become the size of missiles. The reduction will make the UAV’s
harder to detect, thereby enabling them to get closer to critical targets to cripple them

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