Since drones can be flown remotely or autonomously and can navigate dangerous environments without any risk to human operators, they are attractive for military applications, including surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat missions. At the same time, enemy drones pose a growing serious threat to civilians and soldiers. Current anti-drone warfare is either inaccurate, expensive, or large in size, so this project aims to build a low-cost, crayon-sized radar-guided microrocket to target drones up to 100 m away.
A 90 GHz millimeter-wave FMCW radar transmitter was taped out in spring 2023 in the Intel 16 process as part of the next generation of the single-chip micro mote (SCµM) in spring 2023, and bringup is currently underway. To deal with nonlinear chirps, compressed sensing for nonlinear chirp processing was simulated.
Work is also underway on a fully integrated rocket prototype, initially on a larger scale, to demonstrate sensing, tracking, and flight characteristics. We built simulations to verify different airframe configurations and tracking approaches, designed a PCB for the microrocket, manufactured several physical actuator configuration prototypes, and conducted several tests in a wind tunnel. Currently, our flight simulations can accurately calculate all relevant flight parameters, including centers of pressure, axial drag, normal force, pitch, roll, and yaw coefficients.