Gimbals For Antenna & Radome Measurement: Demanding Applications Drive Innovative Architecture, Remarkably Higher Accuracy

Authors: J Mark Hudgens, George M. Cawthon

For the purposes of antenna or radome measurement, a gimbal may be thought of as a compact, two or three axis antenna positioner with mutually orthogonal, intersecting axes. The unrelenting demand for higher accuracy in positioners of this type is driving innovation in mechanical architecture and design. Refined position feedback techniques, reflecting enhanced understanding of position errors, and delivering unprecedented native encoder accuracy, have been developed and tested. New mechanical architecture has been created that allows for fullyfeatured two-axis gimbals to exist in the restricted confines behind an aircraft radome. The principal result of these developments is increasingly accurate and capable systems, particularly in the field of radome measurements. These new applications, techniques, architectures, and their results are explored in the following pages.

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