Category Archives: Military

DARPA Working on 100Gbps Wireless Network with 120-Mile Range

DARPA has begun development of a wireless communications link that is capable of 100 gigabits per second over a range of 200 kilometers (124mi). Officially dubbed “100 Gb/s RF Backbone” (or 100G for short), the program will provide the US military with networks that are around 500 times faster than its current wireless links.

In essence, DARPA wants to give deployed soldiers the same kind of connectivity as a high-bandwidth, low-latency fiber-optic network. In the case of Afghanistan, for example, the US might have a high-speed fiber link to Turkey — but the remaining 1,000 miles to Afghanistan most likely consists of low-bandwidth, high-latency links. It’s difficult (and potentially insecure) to control UAVs or send/receive intelligence over these networks, and so the US military instead builds its own wireless network using Common Data Link.

Common Data Link (CDL) is a secure wireless protocol that networks together a US military deployment, for shuttling around imagery, intelligence, orders, and so on. UAVs, aircraft carriers, helicopters, forward operating bases — they’re all connected together via wireless CDL links, bounced via high-altitude aircraft or orbiting satellites. Exact, up-to-date specs are hard to come by, but it seems like the US military’s existing CDL links max out at around 250Mbps. DARPA now wants to push these speeds up to 100Gbps, while using equipment that retains the same weight/power requirements of CDL — i.e. these 100G systems must be deployable in the field.

Suffice it to say, transmitting 100Gbps through the air is rather difficult; your home WiFi network probably maxes out at around 100Mbps, some thousand times slower. We’ve written about visible light links that operate at speeds up to 2.5Tbps — but only over a distance of one meter. Free-space optical communication isn’t viable though, because clouds tend to get in the way when you’re talking about 200-kilometer-long links. The only real option is RF, but again, transmitting 100Gbps over a 200-kilometer RF link is very tough.

The only RF link that is really comparable is ViaSat-1, a geosynchronous Ka-band communications satellite that sits above the USA, which has a total capacity of 134Gbps — but that’s the combined total of 56 Ka transponders, so the actual bandwidth per link is much lower. In all likelihood, DARPA’s 100G program will probably use the lower-frequency Ku band, which is less susceptible to rain fade (or degradation caused by other inclement atmospheric conditions). Assuming the right encoding/multiplexing techniques can be discovered, there should be plenty of bandwidth in either the Ka or Ku bands to hit 100Gbps.

DARPA clearly states that the 100G program is for US military use — but it’s hard to ignore the repercussions it might have on commercial networks, too. I’m surprised that it has fallen to DARPA to develop an ultra-high-speed point-to-point wireless technology. 100Gbps wireless backhaul links between cell towers, rather than costly and cumbersome fiber links, would make it much easier and cheaper to roll out additional mobile coverage. Likewise, 100Gbps wireless links might be the ideal way to provide backhaul links to rural communities that are still stuck with dial-up internet access, or additional backbone bandwidth during peak periods. One day, you might even have a 100Gbps wireless link from your home to your ISP.

Via: Extreme Tech

Apple Maps Discloses Location of Classified Taiwan Military Base

The Hsinchu base is a brand new top secret $1.2 billion radar facility in Taiwan. The above image is a screen shot of Apple’s iOS Maps that clearly shows the location of this military base.

Since this was located using Apple’s new mapping software, that means there are millions of people with access to satellite images of a classified military facility.

The importance of the Hsinchu base is pretty large according to PhysOrg:

    The Hsinchu base houses a cutting-edge long-range radar procured from the United States in 2003. Construction of the radar is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The ultra-high-frequency radar, supplied by US defence group Raytheon, is capable of detecting missiles launched as far away as Xinjiang in China’s northwest, military officials say. They say the radar, which cost $1.23 billion, is designed to give Taiwan minutes of extra warning in case of a Chinese missile attack.

Boeing Testing Truck-Mounted High Energy Laser

The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD)

The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD)

There are solid-state high-energy lasers already being tested on the sea and in the air, now Boeing is continuing development of a truck-mounted system.

The system is similar in concept to Boeing’s Laser Avenger that is intended for combating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), but boasts a more powerful laser for countering a wider variety of threats, including rockets, artillery, mortars, as well as UAVs.

In 2009, testing of the Laser Avenger used a 1-kilowatt, solid-state laser system mounted on an Avenger ground combat vehicle. But this truck-mounted system will use a 10-kilowatt, solid-state laser incorporated with the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) system, with an even more powerful laser to be used in the future according to Boeing.

The HEL MD program will now enter Phase II high-power testing as part of a follow-on contract that supports development and testing for the next three years. This is a joint development effort between Boeing and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC).

Field tests using the high-power, solid-state laser will be conducted over the next year to demonstrate the system’s ability to “acquire, track, damage and defeat threat-representative targets.”

US Air Force Selects Samsung Series 7 Slate to be Used at USAF Bases Worldwide

Samsung Electronics America, Inc., and Intelligent Decisions, Inc. (ID), a recognized leader in federal IT solutions, announced that the Samsung Series 7 Slate has been awarded the network slate tablet category contract under the U.S. Air Force Client Computing and Servers blanket purchase agreement (BPA).  ID and Samsung are partnering to deliver the Samsung Series 7 Slate, which is the first device selected under the new network tablet category, available for deployment at USAF bases worldwide. The USAF has added the Samsung Series 7 Slate to the BPA effective immediately.

The Samsung Series 7 Slate provides the standard desktop configuration implementation of Windows 7 Professional and supports all the same programs as a full-size PC, in a slim and light weight tablet form-factor. It is a half-inch thick and features a responsive 11.6-inch touch screen, the Series 7 Slate allows for convenient use on the move but can also be docked or connected to an optional Bluetooth keyboard so no PC functionality is sacrificed.

“The Samsung Series 7 Slate combines high-end design and graphics with the strength and capabilities of a full-size PC,” said ID President and CEO Harry Martin. “Productivity will never be easier for all levels of U.S. Air Force employees who want the convenience of a tablet without having to compromise when it comes to programs, power and capabilities.”

“Highly mobile government agencies such as the U.S. Air Force are increasingly looking for mobile PC alternatives that can meet their stringent purchasing requirements and give their personnel the computing power they need for maximum productivity anywhere they go,” said Todd Bouman, vice president of marketing at Samsung’s Enterprise Business Division.  “Samsung engineered the Series 7 Slate with the needs of government in mind, from meeting strict security and network compatibility requirements to durability, quality and TAA-compliance.” 

The Series 7 Slate meets the Air Force’s Gold Master standards for computing performance. The Samsung Series 7 Slate is fully compliant with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA), a requirement for government agencies and educational institutions purchasing products with government funds. The basic input/output system (BIOS) of the Series 7 Slate is NIST SP800-147-compliant and fully supports secure BIOS integrity measurement mechanisms.

US Army Looks at 4G Communication System to Better Help Wounded Soldiers

In war medics tend to be thrown into situations where wounded soldiers require urgent and immediate attention where a trained surgeon would be most helpful, and said surgeon would be able to better do his job once he has gotten the background information on the injury and the subsequent medical details in order to dispense with the proper care.

With that said the US Army wants to develop a system which is capable of managing patient data from injury site to recovery, where it will include delivering live audio/video communication for medics in the field. This will help the medics in the field also determine who needs to ride the medevac first depending on the wounded soldiers condition and need for medical attention.

This is where the Army says the system will definitely need to fall back on a range of devices as well as 4G cellular networking in order to send vitals to communicate with the doctor, with everything being said recorded for further review. There are no further details on the 4G communication system the Army will be using.

US Army Seeking Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Dropping Off Medical Supplies and Picking Up Injured Troops

The United States Army is looking into using, Autonomous Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to deliver medical supplies in situations where it might not be reasonable to send a rescue team. These unmanned aircraft are also to be used to pick up injured soldiers.

The Army is not asking to develop new technology or new aircraft, but to repurpose the existing aircraft they use now.

The A160 Hummingbird is one of the unmanned aircraft being used that would be preferred. As well as the K-MAX and the Black Hawk is a suggestion for remote-control modification.