METamaterials for Active ELEctronically Scanned Arrays (METALESA)

Dec 15, 2014

Start Date: April 2010 
End Date: April 2014
Participating Countries: ES, DE, FR, IT
Other partners: n.a.

The objective of the METALESA project was to employ MetaMaterials (MTM) in order to increase the efficiency and reliability of operating radar systems, demonstrated by implementing high performance active electronically scanned array (AESA) systems. The limiting factors that motivated this study were expensive RF feeding networks with considerable space requirements, parasitic back- and side-radiation, and reduced transmit/receive power for certain scanning directions and interference. project, respectively. The successful implementation of the aforementioned investigation to mitigate the limiting factors was demonstrated up to a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3 to 4. Future work could build on these achievements with a focus on further raising the TRL.

Project goals

  • To present critical breakthrough technology with respect to the state of the art, in the field of radar signal processing, systems or applications
  • To demonstrate how novel MetaMaterial (MTM) concepts can be applied to improve limitations or reduce the costs of critical components of modern Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA), for today’s military radar systems
  • To increase the efficiency and reliability of future operating radar systems

Detailed description of the project 

The Disruptive Concept Paper Award was awarded to the paper entitled “Blind Spot Mitigation in Phased Array Antenna using Metamaterials" by the International Radar Conference 2014 which took place on 13 to 17 October in Lille, France.

The work was supported by the METALESA project that has been coordinated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) and funded by 11 contributing Members (Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) in the framework of the Joint Investment Programme on Innovative Concepts and Emerging Technologies (JIP-ICET).

The Disruptive Concept Paper Award honors the author(s) of a paper presenting an exceptional breakthrough with respect to the state of the art, in the field of radar signal processing, systems or applications.

The METALESA consortium consisted of Tafco Metawireless and the Public University of Navarra in Spain, Thales and ONERA in France, the University of Siena in Italy, and Fraunhofer FHR in Germany.

The limiting factors that motivated this study were expensive RF feeding networks with considerable space requirements, parasitic back- and side-radiation, and reduced transmit/receive power for certain scanning directions and interference.

The goal of the project has been to demonstrate how novel MetaMaterial (MTM) concepts can be applied to improve limitations or reduce the costs of critical components of modern Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA), for today’s military radar systems.

An AESA, as core component of modern military radar systems, is a type of phased array, whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small transmit/receive modules.

The objective of the METALESA project was to employ MetaMaterials in order to increase the efficiency and reliability of operating radar systems Electromagnetic MTMs are artificial materials with unusual macroscopic propagation properties of electromagnetic waves, which are normally generated by microscopic periodic metallo-dielectric structures.

Four main topics were identified as critical in the AESA design process, where MTM concepts could be applied, and have been analysed, prototyped and tested methodically in the project: 

  • Expensive RF feeding networks, with considerable space requirements.
  • The coupling between radiating elements of the antenna array is the principal source of the scanning angle limitations, causing the undesired angular blind spots.
  • The parasitic back-lobe and side-lobe radiation caused by the antenna´s finite dimensions can cause unwanted disturbances of other systems or in the system itself. 

A MTM based radome is proposed to reject the out of band interference and simultaneously, the in band back-lobe and side-lobe radiation. 

The results could be particularly contribute to the design and performance improvements of new generation radars and active antennas.


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Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • UK