Vehicle Electronics & Architecture (VEA)

Conformal and Embedded In-Armor Antenna Solution for Army Ground Vehicles

by Shikik Johnson; Waliul Mizan; Nahid Kabir


Present day Army ground vehicles are equipped with numerous communications (COMMS) and counter improvised explosive device (C-IED) antenna systems. These platforms often have numerous highly visible antennas to support the large bandwidth and high power requirements of military radios and jammers. Currently, the demand for additional spectrum functionality for a ground vehicle ultimately leads to another antenna crowding the surface of the vehicle and reducing the survivability by increasing its visual signature. The visual signatures of large legacy whip antennas not only reduce battlefield survivability but also hinder the mobility of the vehicle in tight urban theater scenarios. With so many antenna systems onboard, mutual and joint force interoperability is of grave concern as the cosite interference between antenna systems significantly reduces its communications range and could hamper jamming effectiveness. The goal of the Army initiated Embedded Platform Antenna System (EPAS) program is to develop a novel antenna solution for the problem of antenna blockage, cosite interference, large antenna visual signature, and platform crowding on Army ground platforms by using antennas that are conformal and embedded in-armor and potentially glass structures. Today’s technology make possible next generation antennas that can be integrated onto the Army platform reducing size, weight, and power (SWaP) considerations. The key challenge is to embed these apertures into armor and glass without compromising the structural integrity of the armor (i.e., ballistic performance), while at the same time maintaining optimal operation of the antenna element. To this end, modeling and simulation techniques utilizing computational electromagnetic codes and material science practices are essential in facilitating the engineering of embedded platform armor antenna systems.