Battlespace Tech

DARPA awards contract for development of new radio chip

Virginia-based company Exelis has been awarded a $10.7 million contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for development of multifunctional chips for airborne radios, according to an announcement from the company. The award falls under the scope of DARPA’s Communications in Contested Environments or C2E program, which has undergone several phases.

The C2E program is part of ongoing efforts by DARPA and other military agencies to ensure communications in electronic warfare environments; working under the assumption adversaries are improving their capabilities even as U.S. communications systems improve.

DARPA first put out a solicitation in 2013 for the C2E program that sought to address adversary systems that denied and intercepted U.S. tactical communications. The C2E program was designed to make advancements toward thwarting enemy efforts in heterogeneous networking and advanced communication technologies, reference hardware architecture and software architecture. In more plain terms, the initial C2E solicitation sought to “to enable secure communications and keep battlefield networks ahead of emerging electronic threats.”

In July 2014, DARPA awarded Silver Bullet Technology a $4.7 million contract under the C2E program. British-based BAE Systems was also awarded a contract last year under the C2E program to work on an open system architecture that would enhance communications in contested environments. 

In terms of the recent contract awarded, Exelis will provide security and jam-resistant airborne radio communications improvements. Additionally, the company will build upon its innovative architecture called “interface awareness” – a new standardization that will retrofit improvements to radio subsystems without having to replace them. 

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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