USAF Software Defined Radios use Multi-node Network to Extend Data Range

Collins Aerospace is developing two new software-defined radios (SDRs) that combine commercial-off-the-shelf technology with military hardware to expand network nodes and extend the effective range that data can travel By DA Reporter / 28 May 2021

Collins Aerospace is developing two software-defined radios (SDRs) for the U.S. Air Force that will connect and transmit airborne and ground radio data for the first time using a multi-node network. 

The Software Programmable Agile Radio for Tactical Connected Ubiquitous Systems (SPARTACUS) and Software Programmable Agile Radio Frequency (RF) Tactical Aerial Network (SPARTAN) aims to leverage an Open Systems architecture to enable the Air Force to develop and implement mission-specific waveforms.

Large airborne and ground data sets – which may include imagery and video – are transported by different waveforms making it difficult to get data to key decision makers quickly. 

By combining commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with military hardware, Collins Aerospace aims to make it possible for network nodes to expand and extend the effective range data can travel.

“The radios developed for the SPARTACUS and SPARTAN programs enable the warfighter to transmit data high data rates and allow them to focus on the mission at hand,” said Ryan Bunge, vice president and general manager, Communication, Navigation and Guidance Solutions for Collins Aerospace.

The Collins Aerospace ground radio for the SPARTACUS program will connect ground links to air links in an aircraft. The radio is designed to support legacy and future waveforms, and can also integrate additional third party waveforms. 

The Collins Aerospace SPARTAN radio is capable of operating multiple waveforms simultaneously and the SPARTAN and SPARTACUS radios share common design elements, supporting a wide variety of waveform capabilities including multi-node directional data links and beyond-line-of-sight SATCOM links.

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