SWISSto12 announces development of Active Electronically Steerable Antennas in collaboration with Thales

  • SWISSto12 collaborates with Thales for the development of Active Electronically Steerable Antennas (AESAs) for Satcom-on-the-move market, with a focus on airborne, land and maritime vehicles. 
  • The AESA will combine innovative and highly efficient 3D-printed antenna apertures developed by SWISSto12 with state-of-the-art solid-state beamformers provided by Thales. 
  • The new AESAs will target Ka-band and combined Ku/Ka-band satellite connectivity applications and offer dramatic size, power consumption and cost improvements with respect to existing solutions.

Renens, Switzerland  // SWISSto12, One of Europe’s fastest-growing aerospace companies and a leading manufacturer of advanced satellite payloads and systems, announces it is developing Active Electronically Steerable Antennas (AESAs) for airborne, land and maritime platforms in collaboration with world-leading critical electronics company, Thales

SWISSto12’s AESAs will use innovative 3D-printed miniature horn antennas instead of traditional patch antennas. These 3D-printed antenna apertures are of higher efficiency and overall performance (gain, axial ratio & bandwidth over scan volume) than patch antennas. These features are key to maintaining wide-angle scanning capabilities in AESAs.

SWISSto12’s 3D printed antennas are mounted on planar beamformers provided by Thales, which will use the latest Beamforming Integrated Circuits (BFICs) and innovative patented interconnection solutions.

Thales will bring its strong heritage in design of complex layouts of microwave amplification functions dedicated to spatial combination using the latest ultra fine pitch packaging solutions available on the market.

The new AESA product will leverage improvements in Size, Weight and Power consumption (SWaP) starting with Ka band satellite communications and future combined operation across Ku and Ka bands combined in one antenna.

This new product is a continuation of the strong collaboration between SWISSto12 and Thales’ Microwave & Imaging Sub-Systems activities across various products and applications. In January 2023, SWISSto12 and Thales signed a contract to develop solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) for applications in Space, and specifically for SWISSto12’s Hummingsat missions.

Emile de Rijk, CEO of SWISSto12 said: “We are delighted to announce this new AESA product at SWISSto12, and the associated collaboration with Thales. This new class of AESAs uses our unique 3D printed antenna technology and will offer a breakthrough for users of on-the-move satellite communications across airborne, naval and land platforms.

Charles-Antoine Goffin, Vice President, Microwave & Imaging Sub-Systems, Thales said: “Thanks to this collaboration with SWISSto12, Thales is able to expand its RF power amplification and beamforming product portfolio. The result of this collaborative effort will be a new solution for Satcom on-the-move applications, where Thales will bring its skills on Design for Manufacturing and Design to Cost applied to electronic assemblies for competitive serial production planned in its premises. These compact AESAs will give the opportunity to SWISSto12 and Thales to serve various markets starting with commercial airborne connectivity and government satellite communications”.

About SWISSto12:

SWISSto12 is a leading manufacturer of advanced satellite payloads and systems, including the HummingSat: a small yet powerful geostationary telecommunications satellite developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) through its public-private-partnership program. HummingSat customers include Intelsat and Inmarsat (acq. Viasat 2023.) In contrast to the “micro” GEO satellite category, which traditionally defines satellites in sub-500kg classes, HummingSat is positioned in the “small” GEO satellite class, with a mass of around 1,000kg. SWISSto12’s satellites and payloads benefit from the company’s unique and patented 3D-printing technologies and associated Radio Frequency (RF) product designs that deliver lightweight, compact, highly performing, and competitive RF functionality. Besides its space portfolio, the company is also active in telecommunications and surveillance applications for the aeronautic industry. SWISSto12 has developed commercially with success in Europe and in the USA, and is amongst the fastest growing aerospace companies in Europe. SWISSto12 spun off in 2011 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), is privately owned and backed by prominent Swiss and European Investors.

About Thales:

Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies within three domains: Defence & Security, Aeronautics & Space, and Digital Identity & Security.
It develops products and solutions that help make the world safer, greener and more inclusive.
The Group invests close to €4 billion a year in Research & Development, particularly in key areas such as quantum technologies, Edge computing, 6G and cybersecurity.
Thales has 77,000 employees in 68 countries. In 2022, the Group generated sales of €17.6 billion.