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Antenna Technology Selection

Different antenna solutions have been preliminary considered and analyzed:

  1. Slotted Waveguide antenna
  2. Printed antenna
  3. Sustrate Integrated Waveguide (SIW)
  4. Connected Array

Waveguide antenna is the solution typically applied to non-polarimetric aircraft weather radar; also dual polarized antenna have been already investigated and patented for polarimetric weather radar. Considering the poor innovation level of the solution, and possible intellectual property problem the waveguide solution was not considered a suitable option for the AhEAD project.

At the same time, other concepts based for example on SIW or periodically fed long radiating structures (e.g. connected dipoles) have the potentiality to generate new suitable configurations with improved performance. However, being the technology less mature, pursuing a design on this basis had somehow higher risks and will anyway lead to a solution at a lower technology readiness level.

On the other side printed technology is a well consolidated technology successfully applied in airborne and spacecraft field, even if not in the frame of weather radar. Nevertheless printed antennas offer a series of advantages in terms of flexibility, performance control, manufacturability, low profile and low weight that makes them more than a valid alternative to slotted waveguide antenna.

A Printed Antenna was therefore selected as baseline solution for the project; in order to overcome one of the typical drawback of corporate feed network, the ohmic losses, a Series Fed was identify as the best feeding strategy.