Industry recon

New products emerge to improve military capabilities

Tactical communications systems
BAE Systems announced in January that it won a $120 million contract to design, produce and install communications systems for 400 ground vehicles as part of the Air Force’s Tactical Air Control Party Modernization program.

The vehicular communications systems are designed to provide mobile voice and data communications for Air Force tactical air control groups.

The groups advise ground commanders and others on aerospace power capabilities and assist in planning operations that require close air support using vehicle-mounted communications systems, manpack radios and digital communications devices. Those groups will use the vehicular communications systems to advise ground commanders and coordinate aircraft operations. Because ground forces, military aircraft and ground control stations use a variety of communications systems, the BAE-designed system must accommodate multiple waveforms and data protocols.

High-speed data transfers
A team from Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman met a design milestone in January for a high-performance technology that will increase data transfer speeds for the Air Force’s Transformational Satellite Communications System.

A new data bus called SpaceWire facilitates satellite internal communications by transferring data among systems in space in a way that is similar to how a local-area network functions.

SpaceWire is a self-managing serial protocol that provides a high-speed, low-power system while offering a flexible user interface and enhanced capabilities via traditional satellite systems.

The technology has reached the preliminary design review stage, Lockheed Martin officials said. The recent milestone covers the standard’s flexible and scalable architecture, physical and logical interfaces, and electrical design. SpaceWire can be used to replace Mil-Std 1553.

SpaceWire assigns repetitive tasks to an embedded processor and offers the capability to combine many kinds of signals onto two single-conductor cable pairs, which decreases the size and weight of cable bundles that launch vehicle must carry into orbit.

Planar array antenna
In February, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems officials said they began delivering the first production equipment for the Navy’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer.

Specifically, the company delivered the Cooperative Engagement Capability planar array antenna, which have active and passive elements.

The Cooperative Engagement Capability gives Zumwalt-class destroyers a combined, real-time view of battle spaces by integrating radar from ship, air and land devices, company officials said. It allows anyone connected to the network to simultaneously identify a threat even if the target is outside the range of an individual platform’s sensors.

The planar array antenna kit has more stringent shock requirements and a secondary weatherproof enclosure to meet multiple requirements of the Zumwalt-class destroyer, company officials said.

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