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Modular Frequency Converter Highlights MIRAGE Demo

April 13, 2023
This open-architecture EW frequency converter fits a 3U module and provides wideband frequency coverage with an integrated preselector for fast tuning.

High-frequency subsystems and components supplier CAES was selected by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to supply compact frequency converters and antennas for the MIRAGE airborne Electronic Warfare (EW) pod demonstration. The frequency converter is in keeping with the military Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) and Modular Open System Approach (MOSA) for simplified electronic subsystem interconnectivity.

MIRAGE is being developed according to those open architecture approaches, designed for fast frequency tuning and early threat detection. The 3U frequency converters (see image above) will be teamed with polarization-diverse cross-notch antennas from CAES for frequency coverage from RF through millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies.

CAES develops a variety of wideband and narrowband frequency upconverters and downconverters in different form factors, including those in compliance with MOSA requirements. Block frequency converters can span frequency ranges as wide as 18 to 49 GHz, while narrowband and wideband converters feature multichannel operation in support of detection of widely scattered threat emissions. The frequency converter chosen for the MIRAGE system fits into a single 3U rack-mount slot. The converter can be specified with two upconversion channels, two downconversion channels, or one upconversion and one downconversion channel.

Jacob Hardegree, Tech Advisor EW and Avionics Division, Agile Combat Support Directorate, at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, explained the choice. “CAES’s 3U wideband converter was selected because it is high performance and SOSA-aligned, allowing for direct integration into the existing USAF ruggedized SOSA chassis. CAES was selected after an analysis of available industry offerings and was determined to have the best solution for the initial MIRAGE experiment.”

Reacting to the choice, David Young, CAES Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, said, “We’re honored to be included in the MIRAGE demonstration and provide trusted solutions that help keep warfighters safe. The converter is designed to address the most challenging RF-band EW applications on airborne, ground vehicle, and shipborne platforms. The architecture allows for a low-risk approach to customizing cost, performance, and power needs.”

CAES also supports the MIRAGE system with wideband antennas capable of many polarization formats and adaptable to a wide range of radomes for flexible system integration.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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