Redwire Delivers an L-Band Link-16 Helical Antenna System to the Space Development Agency

Redwire Delivers an L-Band Link-16 Helical Antenna System to the Space Development Agency

Redwire Corporation, a leader in space infrastructure for the next generation space economy, announced that it has successfully delivered its L-Band Link-16 Helical Antenna system for the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) first generation of the National Defense Space Architecture’s Transport Layer, Tranche 0. The system was shipped ahead of schedule and provides unprecedented performance given its stowed volume. The delivery follows acceptance testing comprised of environmental validation and RF performance. 

Redwire is under contract with one of two teams awarded contracts in August 2020 to build 10 satellites capable of sending and receiving wideband data to and from ground-mobile users, other space vehicles, and ground stations. Redwire is responsible for the system design, testing, manufacturing, and flight hardware deliveries of three Link-16 antennas. The antennas will enable beyond-line-of-sight communications for the warfighter using the Link-16 tactical network.

“Redwire is proud to be providing next-generation technology for our customer in support of the Transport Layer Tranche 0,” said Ben Wilmhoff, Chief RF Engineer at Redwire. “The L-Band Helical Antenna is the result of years of research and development of advanced antenna systems alongside industry and top-tier military customers.”

The L-band helical antenna is a lightweight, compact, ultra-wideband antenna for space-based tactical communications. It interfaces with L-Band radios that support wideband frequency-hopping tactical networking. Redwire’s two-meter-long deployable helical RF aperture is extended and supported on-orbit by Redwire’s slit-tube composite ROC boom, a product the company has successfully demonstrated in space on three other antenna systems for military customers and developed through an Air Force SBIR Commercialization Readiness Program.

Redwire’s antenna technology was selected for the original Link-16 space demonstration mission, called XVI, which was primed by Viasat and funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). AFRL has additional investments in Redwire’s antenna technology through an AFWERX Space Pitch Day award. This award allowed Redwire to demonstrate advanced passive and active antennas for Tranche 1 and future Transport Layer Tranches. Redwire continues to evolve and develop antennas for tactical communications and RF sensing applications.

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