The developed antenna architecture is based on a hybrid electronic and mechanical beam steering. With this configuration the beam of the antenna is oriented electronically (no physical movements) along the elevation and polarisation axes, while is rotated mechanically in azimuth. The antenna has an embedded automatic tracking system based on electronic gyroscopic sensors and the monitoring of the received signal (closed loop).
The radiating aperture is based on an array of elements subdivided in parallel rows. The elements have a dual linear polarisation configuration allowing the application of the antenna to both linearly or circularly polarised systems.
The elements integrate low-noise amplifiers to maximise the efficiency of the antenna. Each row of the array includes a custom MMIC phase shifter that enables the simultaneous control of the elevation and of the polarisation.
The antenna is composed by two main parts: the rotating part that contains the radiating aperture, the sensors, the Automatic Control Unit, the motor and the down converter from Ku to L-band and the fixed part that has the only function to allow the installation on the vehicle and to provide the connectivity for the receiver and power supply. The two parts are connected together by a mechanical bearing allowing the rotation of the upper part and a combined "RF rotary join & slip-ring" that ensures the communication of the RF signal, of the power supply for the electronic and the motor as well as a digital communication line for the debugging of the prototype.
The automatic tracking system is based on electronic inertial sensors aided by a closed loop monitoring of the satellite signal. This smart tracking function is able to continue to track the satellite position during long periods without signal, thus minimising the reacquisition time after signal blockage due to obstacles in the satellite line-of-sight.