The MoD and Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has awarded a development contract to Arralis , a technology company servicing the aerospace and defence sector with a Design Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Arralis designs and manufactures high frequency semiconductor chips, modules and antennas up to and beyond 110GHz. Under the first phase of the contract Arralis will deliver a proof-of-concept study which de-risks GNSS Multi frequency or Wideband Antenna technologies, and advise the future system performance specifications before moving on to build a working prototype. The awarding bodies have made up to £650k available for the first two phases of the contract. Should the highly innovative development be a success, an opportunity exists to expand the program into a major supply contract for the MoD.
Arralis were successful in their bid thanks to an innovative concept; designing a GNSS Antenna using a Meandered Spirial and High Impedance Surface. The current challenge is to develop solutions that can take advantage of opportunities presented by the emergence of GNSS signals for both military and civil applications. This will require assured precise Position, Velocity and Time (PVT) information for a variety of low Space, Weight and Power (SWaP) applications including navigation, targeting, guidance, situational awareness and time synchronisation.
For the MoD it is considered that the dismounted soldier applications represent the highest priority and most challenging conditions due to their exacting SWaP requirements and the necessary resilience required by military users. However, these antenna designs have applications far beyond the military; law enforcement, civil aerospace, mobile telecommunications, logistics, emergency management and infrastructure applications all could derive benefits from low SWaP antennae array systems for GNSS.
Speaking on the announcement of the MoD and Innovate UK contract, Mike Gleaves, CTO of Arralis said, “This is a very exciting opportunity for Arralis to work with a highly strategic customer. We also see it as another return on investment from our Northern Ireland design centre, opened in 2014 in the Queens University Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) facility. Two of our key engineers Dr. Steven Cristie and Dr. Denver Humphrey will lead the development and they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the program which makes us very confident of a cutting edge solution”.
(Left to right), Barry Lunn, CEO Arralis, Dr. Denver Humphrey, GNSS Program Manager, Mike Gleaves, CTO Arralis.