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Multiphysics Simulation: An IEEE Spectrum Insert
Manager’s Guide

Picking the Pattern for a Stealth Antenna

F. De Vita, S. Di Marco, F. Costa and P. Turchi
Altran, Italy

Stealth airplanes and ships avoid radar detection by optimizing the shape of surfaces to reflect away from the radar source or absorb its energy. Yet, if a ship or aircraft’s antenna for communication purposes is to operate properly, it cannot be completely covered up. This makes it one of the remaining components with a large radar cross section and can essentially destroy the overall system’s invisibility to radar.

Altran, a global leader in innovation and high-tech engineering consulting, set out to design frequency selective surfaces with geometrical patterns that would optimize the stealth technology. The performance of a FSS is linked to its shape, thickness, choice of substrates and the phasing between individual elements. There are many possibilities, and testing each one physically would be time-consuming for designers. Altran turned to simulation with COMSOL Multiphysics to investigate the frequency responses of a variety of shapes and sizes and how they are distributed on a surface in order to find promising candidates in just minutes.

An FSS based on a metallic strip array, with its meshed geometry and frequency response curve.