Advanced Systems Technology Soldier wearing sensor sweet
Advanced Wireless Systems and Sensors

SPC supports a number of system engineering projects across a multitude of wireless networking, communications, and sensors technologies and concepts directly supporting tactical operations at the forward edge of the battlefield. The Company’s team of experts includes highly experienced professionals in the fields of wireless communications, advanced communications theory and modeling, network protocols and implementations, software implementation and signal detection. In addition, the Company provides in depth field test and evaluation experience developing test scenarios, data collection processes, and operational field demonstrations.

Advanced Wireless Networks for the Soldier (AWNS)
Soldier wearing sensor sweetThe Advanced Wireless Networks for the Soldier (AWNS) Program seeks to create a very high performance communication network. Highly scalable and highly adaptable, it will not require any infrastructure. AWNS communication systems will adapt to changing conditions and mission requirements by adjusting frequency, modulation scheme, operating power, and topology of the network, particularly at the physical and link layers, to create and maintain a rich, multiply-connected network fabric. This rich interconnection will provide superior battlefield communications at lower system cost and enhance survivability by ensuring information, applications and services are readily available at the tactical edge. By leveraging these communications breakthroughs, warfighters will have the state-of-the-art performance in Soldier Information Systems.

AWNS aims to provide assured, secure, and robust communications for dismounted Soldiers. To accomplish its goals, AWNS will integrate commercial manufacturing products, applications, and components with high-assurance military communications technology. This effort will use the cost-effective radio developed under the Wireless Network after Next (WNaN) Program as the base platform. Advanced technologies will be integrated onto this platform to improve performance, compatibility, and connectivity with external systems, and provide the soldiers with advanced network based services and applications. WNaN developed technologies that allowed radios to form ad-hoc networks to dynamically link sender and receiver; avoid interference through dynamic spectrum access to continually assess usable spectrum; and hold the message until the link is re-established to prevent message loss. SPC supported WNaN program development, conducted field experiments to validate system operational performance, provided training to U.S. Army personnel at Ft Benning, GA, and coordinated and executed system deployment for evaluation by the Army during their Network Integration Exercise.

Mobile Hotspots
The goal of Mobile Hotspots is to provide high-bandwidth communications for troops in remote forward operating locations with a reliable infrastructure optimized for remote geographic areas, a capability which does not yet exist. To overcome the challenge of data transmission in remote areas, the Agency's Mobile Hotspots program intends to develop and demonstrate a scalable, mobile, millimeter-wave communications backbone with the capacity and range needed to connect dismounted warfighters with forward-operating bases (FOBs), tactical operations centers (TOCs), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and fixed communications infrastructure. The backbone should also provide reliable end-to-end data delivery between hotspots, as well as from ISR sources and command centers. The program envisions air, mobile and fixed assets, most of which are organic to the deployed unit, that provide a gigabit-per-second tactical millimeter-wave backbone network extending to the lowest-echelon warfighters. To achieve this capability, the program seeks to develop advanced millimeter-wave pointing, acquisition and tracking (PAT) technologies that are needed to provide high connectivity to the forward-located mobile hotspots. Advanced PAT technology is key for connectivity to small UAVs, for example, enabling them to serve as flying nodes on the mobile high-speed backbone. Additionally, the program seeks novel technologies to increase the transmission power of millimeter-wave amplifiers to provide adequate ranges within the small size, weight, and power (SWAP) constraints required for company-level unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Content Based Mobile Edge Networking (CBMEN)
The Content Based Mobile Edge Networking program develops middleware that provides network services and transport architectures to enable efficient, transparent distribution of content in mobile ad hoc network environments. Battlefield applications use CBMEN network services to efficiently distribute information. The goal of the CBMEN program is to reduce latency and increase content throughput for warfighters at the tactical edge. The idea is to duplicate the capabilities and services provided by the commercial world wide web using fixed infrastructure at the tactical battlefield edge using mobile ad Hoc networks.
Mobile, Ad Hoc Interoperability Network GATEway (MAINGATE)
Mobile, Ad hoc Interoperability Networking GATEway (MAINGATE) is a vehicle-mounted radio program currently undergoing field trials with US Army units in Afghanistan. The radio acts as a gateway that allows legacy radios to communicate with each other across tactical networks. The system provides a Wireless IP Network (WIPN) broadband interconnection between legacy radio systems to enable reliable data transfer under dynamically changing link conditions and node topologies and allows different networks (EPLRS, PRC-117, SINCGARS, etc.) to communicate, solving the current interoperability problem.
Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT)
The ADAPT program seeks novel techniques and processes to rapidly develop low-cost ISR sensor systems by adapting commercial manufacturing approaches. The primary goal of the ADAPT program is to deliver common hardware and software that can be quickly configured to perform a variety of mission-specific ISR applications.

The elements of the ADAPT concept are divided into three areas: A reusable hardware core, reusable software, and sensor-specific applications. The reusable hardware core aims to leverage low-cost commercial components available at the time of manufacture, enabling it to be refreshed at the rate of commercial technologies. For example, commercial consumer electronic products are typically developed using Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) who promote fabless product development in factories that make a large number of variations on similar products. ADAPT seeks to use ODMs for design and production rather than the common practice of using contract manufacturers.

Reusable software efforts will addresses sensor management functions such as processing, storage, communications, navigation and orientation-all of which are common to a wide variety of sensor systems. These are also the same types of functions used in smart phone products which will allow leveraging of commercial technology for economies of scale. Consumer software can be developed quickly by using open-source software frameworks that include application development and distribution environments. These rich software tools and libraries create opportunities for nimble, third party application developers to rapidly create and refine software products. The ADAPT program will leverage similar commercial software development environments for smartphone products to enable new classes of sensor system application developers.

Sensors currently require production of common hardware and software for each sensor-specific application. Sensors created in the ADAPT program will benefit from not having to develop and produce common hardware and software. Military missions will define specific sensors, packaging and power systems to be used depending upon the mission performance requirements. Processing, storage, communication, navigation, orientation and sensor management functions will be handled by the reusable core hardware and software.

Laser Radar Technology (LRT)
Scientists in the DARPA Strategic Technology Office have been working on the LRT program since September 2012 when the agency released the original solicitation. The DARPA LRT program is focusing on two areas of Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology research: detector arrays and laser sources. Laser detector array research seeks to support advanced LIDAR systems with sensors able to detect optical backscatter from different laser transmit waveforms. These detectors must operate not only in a direct-detection mode, but also in coherent detection mode. Laser source research seeks to develop high-efficiency, high-power, laser sources able to support direct and coherent detection waveforms or generate high and low-duty factor waveforms with frequency and phase modulation. The military is interested in LIDAR for high-definition imaging systems that collect enough detail to identify targets, such as tanks, aircraft, or humans on foot. Examples of military applications of LIDAR include the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) for counter-mine warfare. Other military applications of LIDAR may involve detecting and discriminating biological warfare agents. The military also is interested in LIDAR for unmanned vehicles navigation and guidance, particularly for enabling unmanned aircraft and unmanned ground vehicles to avoid obstacles. LIDAR as a target-detecting and -tracking system is considered to be more difficult to detect and jam for enemy forces.
Multifunction Sensor Technology
SPC provides technical, programmatic, and financial support to two classified programs:

  • Multi-Optical Sensing (MOS): The program involves the development and demonstration of an optical radar for air-to-air engagement. The research will investigate innovative approaches in the area of laser radar system design and development for tracking and identifying airborne targets from an airborne platform. The program covers technical concept development, modeling, simulation and an early test bed demonstration.

  • SPOL: The program involves a study of airborne 3-D LIDAR system architectures for the production of near-real-time products. The S1 Sensor was developed under a previous contract and demonstrated under flight. While partially successful, the system did not achieve full performance due to several technical issues as well as the overall reliability of the system. The purpose of this program is to resolve those issues; design and incorporate solutions to those issues; design and incorporate upgrades that will make the system more robust; repair damaged hardware; and demonstrate full performance under flight.
Sensor Technology Exploitation
The classified Sensor Technology Exploitation Portfolio includes programs investigating techniques to use wide-band coherent sources, waveforms, optics, detection, and signal processing for sensing and free-space optical communication. Since 2013, the SPC SETA team has provided Technical and Programmatic support for this existing program. The technical team provides experience in system engineering, system analysis, modeling and simulation of optical communication systems. Leveraging their expertise in the design, analysis & development of EO/IR/RF sensors and lasers, the team is able to fully elucidate the theoretical and operational aspects of remote sensing systems on military platforms, thus shaping future follow-on programs adjacent to the existing portfolio.