Highly reliable communication is the corner stone for successful implementation of the 5G system. In this RF congested environment 5G faces the greatest challenge for providing uninterrupted high-bit-data rate communication to its subscribers. We propose a novel concept of operation (CONOPS) for continuous connectivity where backhaul communication is performed by airborne phased array to the ground station from where service is provided to the customers. BAE Systems has been engaged in the development of high-data rate airborne and ground based phased array systems in frequency bands from C band through Ka band for decades.
The high-bit-data rate beam steering airborne phased array antennas were developed for radar and jammer tracking purpose. Recently, BAE Systems has partnered with academia to develop a cost-effective beam switching phased array supporting data rates of 180 Mbps at C-band and up to 640 Mbps at Ka band with sophisticated tracking system to establish continuous connectivity with the ground station.
The system not only provides the desired high gain but also highly cost-effective using beam switching technology and butler feeding system. The system will support Aeronix high-bit-data rate radio from air-to-ground and vice versa operating as the backhaul infrastructure. The radio operates in L, S, or C-Band, the system can provide maximum user data rates in excess of 50 Mbps when using a RF Channel width of 20 MHz. For reliability the communication can be performed either at C-band or at Ka band with similar CONOPS. The air-borne beam switching antenna array can provide 18dB gain at a 22 degree beam width at C-band and 23 dB gain at 13 degree beam width at Ka-band. It will be an 8 x 8 patch antenna with an 8 port butler matrix.
The butler matrix distributes the RF and amplifies the signal at the antenna input terminal. A special design of the butler matrix can be used to minimize the insertion loss. The basic concept of this design has been successfully applied in a product developed for the US Army. The beam switching algorithm will be installed at the aperture side of the system while the tracking algorithm will be installed in the radio.