Objective:The objective of the activity is to analyse and demonstrate the benefits of replacing coaxial cables/waveguides with fibre optics in large RF phased array antennas. The activity shall identify the best technologies to be employed and it will design, manufacture and test 2 breadboard demonstrators covering both analogue and digital transmission.Targeted Improvements:Order of magnitude mass and volume reduction by substituting the passive coaxial cables by active fibre optics. Immunity to EMI and galvanic isolation are additional improvement parameters.Description:The activity will: 1. Assess the benefits of introducing active fibre optic links from/to the active Phased Array Antenna (PAA). This reflects the market need for more efficient satellites where the offered capacity per satellite (mass/volume power) increases. The study shall look in particular in the adaptation of such links in PAA examining the possibility of transferring either analogue or digital signals. The benefits shall be assessed as the expected big reduction in cabling mass and volume has to be traded-off with the extra power required to replace passive coaxial cables with active optical fibre ones.2. Address all the technical issues in integrating O/E converters with the amplifiers in PAA and establishing suchoptical links. The integration of photonics in the antenna elements may require novel ideas like "array of miniature optical modulators" and "integrated RF photonics" in order to match to the small pitch dimensions of the dense PAA. The study will assess the technical requirements of having the required high dynamic range, optical power and RF levels and frequency span. It shall derive the optimum integration design, select/develop and test the best components for the optoelectronic conversion and advance our understanding through 2 breadboards reflecting the analogue and digital transmission. A roadmap shall be provided for the space qualification ofsuch fibre optic links.3. Relevant developments that took place in other TRP and ARTES activities on microwave photonic PLs lookedat different aspects of such Payloads such as the LO distribution and the Frequency conversion. Such equipment are now at the phaseof IoDs providing confidence that extending the use of microwave photonics close to the amplifiers is both feasible and desirable in being integrated with the rest of the microwave photonic PL, saving tens of kgs in mass. Furthermore, CNES had funded a proof-of-concept demonstrator of an antenna with RF interfaces back in 2012 that was executed by TAS and it is now proposed for further development by the company.4. The engineering tasks include:a) Assess techno-economically the impact on the PL of integrating the optoelectronic converters and fibre links with the amplifiers deriving the requirements for the optoelectronic and RF components;b) Derive the designs for the integration of the O/E converters in the PAA for the cases of analogue and digital transmission;c) Select andtest the performance of the optoelectronic and RF components;d) Build and test 2 demonstrators that represent the cases of analogue and digital transmission (integrated with ADC/DAC);e) Provide a roadmap for advancing to higher TRL.

Tender Specifics