Small Manufacturer of the Year gets an Air Force contract

Membership Spotlight

GATR Technologies of Huntsville, the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network’s Small Manufacturer of the Year for 2013, has received an Air Force Research Laboratory contract for $1.5 million to build a Very Large Inflatable Satellite Dish, GATR said in a release.

GATR Technologies, for Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive Technologies, has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research contract by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The contract calls for GATR to develop a prototype 4-meter inflatable satellite antenna system. The extremely light-weight and portable Satellite Communications hub will enable rapid installation of tactical networks anywhere in the world while saving operators valuable time, shipping expense, and installation infrastructure, GATR said

Traditional large SATCOM antennas are hauled on long trailers or assembled from multiple large crates weighing several thousand pounds and require extensive installation efforts, GATR said. The GATR inflatable antenna will weigh only a few hundred pounds, can be set up in under 90 minutes, and will feature the same performance characteristics as systems fielded in the past, GATR said.

The GATR 4-meter antenna will reduce transport weight and volume by more than 90 percent compared to current hard-dish hub antennas, allowing establishment of quick-entry SATCOM hubs for the first time, while simultaneously making it practical to deploy theater back-up and sparing capabilities for these systems,” Dr. Larry Lowe, VP of Engineering at GATR Technologies, said.

GATR also makes 1.2 meter, 1.8 meter, and 2.4 meter SATCOM antennas. The company plans to display the technology at the Satellite 2014 show in March.

Incorporated in 2004, GATR makes deployable, inflation-rigidized satellite communication terminals, enabling deployment of high-bandwidth terminals in as few as two travel cases. GATR said they’re ideal for first-in deployments and remote applications. The weight reduction is at least 85 percent over rigid deployable antennas of the same size.

On the web at