DARPA awards $7.9 million deal for spectrum sharing work

Military researchers are moving on to Phase 2 of a project to make more efficient use of the electromagnetic spectrum by letting radar and communications systems share bandwidth.

The Defense Advanced research Projects Agency has awarded Leidos a $7.9 million contract for the next phase of the Shared Spectrum Access for Radar and Communications (SSPARC) program, which aims to develop sharing technology, particularly, but not exclusively, for the desirable bandwidth below 6 GHz, which radar and communications systems use.

SSPARC seeks to enable bandwidth sharing in two ways: between military radars and communications, and between military radars and commercial communications.

Four organizations—Michigan Technological University, SAZE Technologies, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories and Science Applications International—worked on Phase 1, which used simulation and analysis to study the feasibility of sharing spectrum using AN/SPY 1 and AN/TPS-80 radars.

In Phase 2, Leidos will focus on sharing in the S-band, in the range of 2 GHz to 4 GHz, according to DARPA’s solicitation, which it issued in March.

A congested electromagnetic spectrum is a growing concern for the military, with more systems making use of it while the Defense Department works to meet a presidential order to turn over 500 MHz for commercial use by 2020. Another DARPA project aimed at increasing efficiency is the Advanced RF Mapping (RadioMap) program, which seeks to map, in real time, the use of spectrum across frequencies, geography and time in order to allow more efficient allocation.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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