Communications Relay with Distributed Airborne Reliable Wide-Area
Interoperable Network (DARWIN) for Manned-Unmanned Teaming in a Spectrum
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA 262
Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems
OBJECTIVE: Design and develop
a networked Line of Sight (LOS) communications capability to share high-data
rate Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) data and tactical
information between ships and DoD aircraft in local area of operations for
distributed operations; to provide communication relay targeting updates for
network-enabled weapons; and to move high data rate ISR data back and forth to
ground entry points (GEPs) in support of ISR and long-range strike missions.
DESCRIPTION: Local Area
high-data rate network links are currently limited to 2 platform nodes (e.g., 1
aircraft talks to 1 ship or ground entry point), which prevent multi-asset ISR
data sharing in a constantly maneuvering environment. Satellite communications
(SATCOM) is not well suited to support the warfighters’ requirements in this
scenario based on its architecture and latency. To enable robust
manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) and multi-ship communication at high data rates
in a spectrum-challenged environment, a new architecture is required.
The communications relay system includes a resilient Distributed Airborne
Reliable Wide-Area Interoperable Network (DARWIN) and a high-capacity back haul
link using simultaneous co-bore sighted Ku- and W-band antennas, modems, and
Common Data Link (CDL) waveforms. The DARWIN system will integrate with an
existing multi-beam CDL system (provided as Government-Furnished Equipment
(GFE)) that can connect up to 12 assets simultaneously (aircraft, ship, and
ground vehicles) in a Spectrum denial environment. The DARWIN architecture
also needs to be interoperable with the Navy’s shipboard Automated Distributed
Network System (ADNS). To support this architecture, the DARWIN network device
will need to support up to 4 multi-independent level security (MILS) enclaves
and also include inputs for MIL-STD 1553, LINK 16, and IP-based protocol. A
highly directional back haul link will be required to support up to 100Mbps
(Ku-band) and 500Mbps (W-band), simultaneously (while maneuvering) assuming
35,00ft Mean Sea Level (MSL) for 2 aircraft in link. Other lower-altitude
combinations may assume lower data transfer rates when taking into account
light and heavy rain regions and cloud attenuation. This architecture will
allow for aerial Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) aircraft nodes, communications
relay between ship-to-ship, ship-to-aircraft, aircraft-to-aircraft, and
aircraft-to-GEP. With multiple aircraft participating, the network is
envisioned to possess a level of autonomy and control that allows for network
impairments, such as, limited bandwidth, long delays, data latency, data loss,
and connection disruptions. Additional features should be considered, such as,
smart data throttling based on message priority, real time spectrum
maneuvering, lossless data compression techniques, data bundling, caching,
queuing, sufficient buffering during maneuvering, translation and embedded
acknowledgements to improve performance. DARWIN should also support control of
Low Probability of Detection/Intercept waveforms. It is envisioned that MQ-4,
MQ-25, MQ-8, E-2D, BACN, and USAF bombers and tankers, and SOCOM Army UAVs will
all utilize this architecture to enable airborne LOS communication architecture
for resilient communications.
PHASE I: Design and develop a
system and demonstrate its feasibility through modeling and simulation of
architectures. Develop brass board prototype (if mature enough) to support
PHASE II: Develop prototype
design and demonstrate capability in a laboratory environment. Conduct flight
testing on surrogate aircraft provided by the vendor.
PHASE III DUAL USE
APPLICATIONS: Perform final testing of and integrate the refined system with
all components of the communications relay and network architecture. Following
successful testing, it is envisioned that the systems will transition to Navy
and potentially USAF aircraft. The DARWIN architecture will provide benefit
for commercial W-band wireless communications for efforts involving low-cost,
long-duration air balloon communication relay nodes.
1. “Automated Digital Network
System (ADNS).” https://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/adns.htm
2. Thompson, Loren et al.
“Netting the Navy Key Initiatives.” Lexington Institute, June 2017. http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/netting-the-navy-key-initiatives07.pdf
3. Adhikari, P.
“Understanding Millimeter Wave Wireless Communication.” Loea Corporation, 2008.
4. Schlosser, T. “Potentials
for Navy Use of Microwave and Millimeter Line-of-Sight Communications.”
Technical Report 1719, September 1996. http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA318338
KEYWORDS: Antenna; Network;
Wireless; Communication; Airborne; Relay
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