BAE Systems has been granted a patent for a collapsible direction finding antenna system. The antenna, which can be launched from various platforms including unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), consists of a rigid central portion and foldable arms. It can be aerial or kite lifted to provide an increased line of sight above a surface. The antenna operates at a wide matched frequency of 1 to 6 GHz and is capable of forming a full azimuth direction finding antenna array when unfolded. GlobalData’s report on BAE Systems gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on BAE Systems, AR/VR head-up displays was a key innovation area identified from patents. BAE Systems's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Collapsible direction finding antenna with foldable arms

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: BAE Systems Plc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11682822B1) describes an antenna assembly that is designed for aerial applications. The assembly consists of a rigid central feed portion that can be attached to a tether, along with multiple arms made of a flexible substrate and a metallization layer. When in a planar orientation outside of a cylindrical platform, these arms form a full azimuth direction finding antenna. However, before use, the flexible substrate layers of the antenna are folded within the cylindrical platform.

One of the key features of this antenna assembly is that the diameter of the rigid central feed board portion is smaller than the inner diameter of the cylindrical platform. This design allows for efficient storage and deployment of the antenna. Additionally, the patent claims that the full azimuth direction finding antenna can be launched from either an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) or by a user in the field.

The rigid central feed portion of the antenna assembly is equipped with four RF connectors mounted to four printed copper slot balun feeds. In its stored state, this portion fits within the cylindrical platform. When the antenna is deployed from the cylindrical platform, it experiences an upward drag force along its tether, which is created by an aerial.

Overall, this patent describes an antenna assembly that offers flexibility, ease of storage, and efficient deployment for aerial applications. The use of a flexible substrate and metallization layer allows for the formation of a full azimuth direction finding antenna, while the folding capability within the cylindrical platform enhances its portability. The ability to launch the antenna from a UUV or by a user in the field adds to its versatility. The inclusion of RF connectors and printed copper slot balun feeds further enhances its functionality.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.