Science and Technology News

Monday, April 1, 2013

AFRL scientist earns DOD's top civilian award

by Amy Rollins
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


4/1/2013 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio  -- Dr. Boris Tomasic from the Air Force Research Laboratory here was named a recipient of the 57th annual Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award.

The highest honor given by the Secretary of Defense to career civilian personnel was presented at the Pentagon in November to Dr. Tomasic, principal/senior electronics engineer, AFRL, Sensors Directorate, Electromagnetics Technology Division, Antenna Technology Branch, and Angelica M. Collazo, 92nd Information Operations Squadron, Air Force Space Command. Ms. Collazo has been at the forefront of cutting-edge cyber defense initiatives critical to the projection of global military power and national defense.

The annual award is presented to a small number of DOD civilian employees whose service reflects devotion to duty and significant contributions to improving DOD operational efficiency and economy, said Staff Sgt. Lavon Tucker, Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs awards and decorations.

Dr. Tomasic and Dr. S. Liu, Aerospace Corp. invented and led the development of a revolutionary new antenna -- the Geodesic Dome Phased Array Antenna -- for the Air Force satellite control network. It provides tracking, telemetry and control of nearly all DOD and National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellites, transitioning the technology from initial concept to field-ready demonstration levels. In comparison to traditional reflector antennas that can link to one satellite at a time, the GDPAA provides multiple (up to four) simultaneous satellite links and gain on demand resulting in highly flexible and efficient antenna capable of meeting future Air Force satellite traffic demands, Dr. Tomasic explained.

He also provided engineering support to Air Combat Command on the Joint Threat Emitter, developing phased array technology for systems that mimic surface-to-air missile radars employed worldwide.

Dr. Tomasic's contributions to antenna technology paved the way for Air Force, Navy and Marine fighter pilots to fly against several emulator systems in realistic combat training scenarios. He also contributed to practical radar and communication system improvements that benefit all DOD forces, including a field deployable phased array for ballistic missile defense, assessment of the Army's Comanche and Black Hawk helicopter antennas, Space Based Radar system development for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and development of extremely high-frequency solid state antenna technology that resulted in improved aircraft connectivity with the military strategic, tactical and relay satellite network.

"I am honored to have received the award," Dr. Tomasic said. "It's very competitive at all levels -- AFRL, AFMC, the Air Force and then the DOD. Winning was a big surprise."

Dr. Tomasic has worked at Wright-Patterson since August 2011 when the AFRL Sensors Directorate, Electromagnetics Technology Division moved from Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., as part of BRAC 2005.

The lab is now working on the next generation of his antenna, which he hopes will cost half the price of the first generation.

(Louise Brown and Gloria Kwizera, AFPC Public Affairs, contributed to this story)

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