Manufacturing – RF Assemblies

Relevance:  ARC’s ability to provide innovative design solutions using custom, and Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) components, along with developing test sets and procedures for volume manufacturing. This effort involved the design and manufacture of a system wide component replacement for a weather radar system.

ARC was awarded a contract from the Federal Aviation Administration for the supply of a new Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) Receiver module. The new Receiver was designed to replace four legacy modules within the system, and provide improved operation and sustainability.  This concept was developed by MIT/Lincoln Labs, ARC modified the design to fit into the existing TDWR system and improve its manufacturability and supportability.

ARC was selected for this effort based on our competitive pricing, our understanding of complex RF based devices, and our history of successful upgrade implementations across several radar platforms.  Due to the physical size needed for the new device, ARC designed an internal power supply, along with three power amplifiers to meet the FAA’s requirements. We also identified and incorporated many Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) items for 80% of this design, to allow for ease of manufacturing and support.

ARC RF Prototype

ARC Designed TDWR Receiver

RF Prototype - Lincoln Labs

MIT/Lincoln Labs Conceptual Approach


 

ARC provided a First Article Unit for FAA testing, followed by an initial production lot of 10 units. These were tested at the FAA Logistics Center, along with key-site testing by the FAA AJW group. All testing was successful, and ARC was tasked to manufacture the remaining 144 units within a one year period, versus the original multi-year deployment.

To improve the turnaround and testing of the new Receivers, ARC developed a Semi-Automated RF Test Station (RFTS) to efficiently verify and capture all test requirements. Test data for each unit was supplied with the delivered items, along with being electronically saved for future reference.

TDWR Manufacturing

 

ARC developed the test using our TestCentre software application, as used on the FAA’s MSAT systems. The RFTS also served as a troubleshooting aid to assist with any repairs of the production units. All Receivers have been successfully manufactured, tested, and delivered to the FAA.

TDWR RF Test Station

ARC TestCentre - MSAT Development