Air Vehicle Communication in a Denied Environment

Period of Performance: 02/03/2016 - 02/15/2017

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Coherent Technical Services, Inc.
46561 Expedition Drive Array
Lexington Park, MD 20653
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Anti-Access, Area Denial (A2AD) environments feature intense jamming from both friend and foe that will disrupt Communications, Navigation, and Identification (CNI) functions on tactical aircraft like the F/A-18. Anti-Jam (AJ) and Low Probability of Detection (LPD) communications systems can restore CNI functions while also providing enhanced capabilities like high bandwidth mobile ad-hoc mesh networking. Further integration of the AJ/LPD communications equipment with the jamming equipment then allows coordinated, efficient use of the spectrum to limit signal Anti-Fratricide (AF). While the highest level of AJ/LPD/AF capability would be provided by Free Space Optical (FSO) means such as laser communications, numerous problems like available aperture, coverage, and atmospheric effects, limit the utility of laser communications on tactical platforms, and do not provide the general solution to CNI availability that a fight in A2AD will demand. Optical communication is best suited to network backbone and relay applications; for the latter, hybrid routers capable of seamless, continuous routing of traffic across AJ/LPD and FSO will maximize availability and throughput in comparison to the common fail-over schemes, which are inefficient at best and ineffective at worst. Critically, the AJ/LPD/AF communications equipment provide precision navigation and identification functions, so that the communication system becomes a net provider of navigation and identification services, rather than being consumed by them. Fully integrated CNI using AJ/LPD/AF that can survive intense A2AD environments is a massive paradigm shift that few recognize and even fewer appreciate; yet the innovations developed here will enable the F/A-18 and similar tactical aircraft to fly and fight with impunity in denied environments far beyond current capabilities.