Ball Aerospace has received a new contract for the delivery of multi-beam phased-array antennas for the US Navy’s network tactical common data link (NTCDL) system.

The company was awarded the deal for the development of the Ku-band phased array antenna suite by BAE Systems.

The NTCDL system provides multiple, simultaneous, high-bandwidth communications links, which are intended to help improve the US Navy’s current vessel protection and mission capabilities.

It is also slated to facilitate the development of a future sensor network across the navy.

“We have worked closely with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to develop and mature the technology for these cost-effective phased-array antennas.”

Ball Aerospace Tactical Solutions vice-president and general manager Rob Freedman said: “We have worked closely with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to develop and mature the technology for these cost-effective phased-array antennas, which will play a critical role in the NTCDL system.

“This is an example of how Ball’s commitment to investment in technology development, and collaboration with our customer, is providing warfighters with a tactical advantage.”

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Ball Aerospace’s multi-beam, planar-phased-array antennas are based on silicon germanium (SiGe) technologies using a single circuit board, which result in a low-profile antenna system.

Ball’s internal research and development (IRAD) investments, together with investments from the ONR, have furthered the availability of the phased-array antenna capability within the military market.

The phased-array antennas are initially planned for integration on-board the US Navy’s aircraft carriers in order to enable the NTCDL system to communicate with a wide range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.

The current contract forms the first phase of the programme and will involve low-rate initial production for the hardware.

Corresponding engineering support services will also be provided as part of the deal.

The development and production of the multi-beam antenna systems is set to be carried out at Ball Aerospace’s manufacturing plant in Westminster, Colorado.