SWISSto12, one of Europe’s fastest-growing aerospace companies and a leading manufacturer of advanced satellite payloads and systems, announced it is developing Active Electronically Steerable Antennas (AESAs) for airborne, land, and maritime platforms in collaboration with world-leading critical electronics company, Thales.
SWISSto12’s AESAs will use innovative 3D-printed miniature horn antennas instead of traditional patch antennas. These 3D-printed antenna apertures are of higher efficiency and overall performance (gain, axial ratio & bandwidth over scan volume) than patch antennas. These features are key to maintaining wide-angle scanning capabilities in AESAs.
SWISSto12’s 3D printed antennas are mounted on planar beamformers provided by Thales, which will use the latest Beamforming Integrated Circuits (BFICs) and innovative patented interconnection solutions.
Thales will bring its strong heritage in the design of complex layouts of microwave amplification functions dedicated to spatial combination using the latest ultra-fine pitch packaging solutions available on the market.
The new AESA product will leverage improvements in Size, Weight, and Power consumption (SWaP) starting with Ka-band satellite communications and future combined operation across Ku and Ka bands combined in one antenna.
This new product is a continuation of the strong collaboration between SWISSto12 and Thales’ Microwave & Imaging Sub-Systems activities across various products and applications. In January 2023, SWISSto12 and Thales signed a contract to develop solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) for applications in Space, and specifically for SWISSto12’s Hummingsat missions.
Emile de Rijk, CEO of SWISSto12 said: “We are delighted to announce this new AESA product at SWISSto12, and the associated collaboration with Thales. This new class of AESAs uses our unique 3D printed antenna technology and will offer a breakthrough for users of on-the-move satellite communications across airborne, naval, and land platforms.”
Charles-Antoine Goffin, Vice President, Microwave & Imaging Sub-Systems, Thales said: “Thanks to this collaboration with SWISSto12, Thales is able to expand its RF power amplification and beamforming product portfolio. The result of this collaborative effort will be a new solution for Satcom on-the-move applications, where Thales will bring its skills on Design for Manufacturing and Design to Cost applied to electronic assemblies for competitive serial production planned in its premises. These compact AESAs will give the opportunity to SWISSto12 and Thales to serve various markets starting with commercial airborne connectivity and government satellite communications”.