Multidisciplinary System Design Optimization Using Model-Based Engineering to Support Phased Array Antenna Architectural Trades | NORTHROP GRUMMAN MISSION SYSTEMS

May 3, 2018
Mr. John A. Hodge
Antenna/RF Engineer
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems


The typical challenge in RF sensor system design is to meet the customer’s specified mission or system performance needs while fitting within the cost, size, weight, and power (SWaP) constraints. Traditional design methods using non-connected models often fail to capture complex system interactions and make system optimization for all constraints difficult, time consuming, and error prone. Given the increasing complexity of RF sensor systems, a digitally integrated & connected analytical modeling solution is needed to identify system configurations that meet challenging mission requirements and provide the best cost, performance, & risk trade.

This work, utilizing ModelCenter, overviews how the Model-Based Engineering (MBE) Integrated Antenna Model has been leveraged to support radar and electronic warfare (EW) trade studies by integrating performance, SWaP, and cost models to explore design trades and optimization. Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and Multidisciplinary System Design Optimization (MSDO) techniques are combined to perform rigorous quantitative and analytical modeling of a phased array antenna system. The author has built a MBE metamodel to accurately and quickly explore trades; predicting performance (such as effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP), # of simultaneous beams, frequency, and spatial coverage), SWaP, and cost to find an optimal solution set. This work integrates subsystem and component models into a unified metamodel that is integrated with system-level EIRP models, a SEER-H cost model, and a mission-level simulation. Subsystems and components modeled include the transmit module, power system, antenna radiator, antenna system, thermal, and pod weight. The models are integrated using Matlab and ModelCenter for analysis and multi-objective optimization. MBE has enabled the design team to evaluate the EIRP trade space against requirements more thoroughly and in significantly less time.

A major benefit of MBE is the flexibility and agility of the integrated model toolset that allows the user to rapidly modify underlying components and design parameters in the model and produce decision-quality visualization charts to meet the needs of internal & external customers. As the design matures, the metamodel can be quickly updated to iterate options. A MBE Integrated Antenna Model can be used for initial design exploration (pre-program trade studies), and then be leveraged throughout the system design & development lifecycle. This presentation will demonstrate a framework for how analytical MBE can be adopted by more phased array design programs and capture efforts to support technical & strategic decision making.

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