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MBDA showcases low-cost anti-jam GNSS antenna

Feb 2022 | No Comment

Engineers from MBDA Missile Systems, working in conjunction with Swansea University research staff, have developed an innovative, compact, low-cost global navigation satellite system (GNSS) anti-jam antenna specifically suited to smaller calibre-guided weapons.

Prototyped and tested as part of the French/UK Materials and Components for Missiles Innovation Technology Partnership (MCM ITP) programme, the Novel Null Steering Antenna 2 (NNSA2) project has matured the antenna and associated electronics to a point where it is available for transition to a product. The design – featuring a 150 mm-diameter Slot Based Microstrip Patch Antenna and embedding a ‘scan, monitor, and lock’ algorithm that intelligently steers the null in the direction of arrival of interference – offers a capability in applications where traditional anti-jam devices would be unsuitable owing to their size, mass, and cost.

GNSS signals are recognised as a crucial navigation technology for medium- and long-range precision attack missiles, providing a means to correct the drift inherent to inertial measurement units. With the proliferation of low-cost GNSS jammers able to disrupt or deny GNSS, requirements are growing for anti-jam antennas able to null out the effect of the jammer by adjusting the antenna’s gain profile.

However, previous anti-jam antenna devices – based on Controlled Reception Pattern Antennas (CRPAs) and their associated antenna control unit electronics – are typically large and heavy, consume a large amount of power, and carry a high unit cost, GBP10,000+ (USD13,400+) . They may also fall under the purview of International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) export controls, thereby limiting scope for international sales.

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