RAYTHEON DEVELOPS HIGH-RATE DATA CAPABILITY FOR ON-THE MOVE HIGH CAPACITY APPLICATIONS
19 Feb 05. George Vardakas, Director of Networked Communication Systems, Raytheon Network Centric Systems briefed BATTLESPACE Editor, Julian Nettlefold on the $6m award (See BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 5, 03 February 2005, CONTRACT NEWS IN BRIEF, Raytheon awarded communications technology transfer contract) for advanced network systems applicable to future US Stryker Brigade upgrades.
The program started in 2001 with DARPA funding for technology developments for new ad-hoc networking algorithms, waveforms, radios, and antennas for FCS. Existing technology for mobile ad-hoc networks uses omni-directional antennas for data transmission. Omni-directional antennas limit the data-rate transmissions and this research money required Raytheon to develop systems to provide higher data rate and utilise greater bandwidth through the use of directional antennas.
Directional antennas provide a gain in signal strength that is proportional to the change in data rate. Through the use of antenna gain on both transmission and reception it is possible to significantly increase the data rate and RF propagation range. In addition, directional antennas provide the ability for spatial reuse of frequency channels which increases overall network bandwidth. Nodes which cause interference with the traditional omni antenna no longer cause interference when using directional antennas when the interfering node is outside of the antenna beamwidth. Through the use of advanced channel access protocols, the Raytheon design is able to schedule transmissions to maximize the amount of channel reuse made available through directional antennas.
The initial funding and development came prior to Boeing’s appointment as FCS LSI and utilised a surrogate UAV for development purposes and analysis of scenarios with exposed nodes. After a successful FCS Demo 3, the technology was adapted for the Army and used in a set of successful demonstrations for NetFires. In 2004, the program was nominated for the DARPATECH award.
A demonstration of the Raytheon system will take place in 4Q CY05 as a part of the AAEF exercise to enable the system to transition to FCS. The current program is optimizing the system for operation within the constraints of the UHF band in order to maximize the bandwidth utilization and propagation range.
The outcome of this development will enable the Stryker Brigades to transmit at high data rates whilst on the move, a crucial development for Future Force Networking.