Raytheon to Develop Network Centric Radio Systems for DARPA (updated)
Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems in Fort Wayne, IN won a $21.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee and fixed-price contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the Network Centric Radio System (NCRS). DARPA envisions two critical technologies for the NCRS: 1) a backbone radio architecture that enables IP versatile networks and 2) a radio gateway that enable legacy analog and digital communications systems to be linked together. The contract has a potential value of up to $155 million if all options are exercised.
DID has more on NCRS and DARPA’s MAINGATE program…
In 2008, then DARPA Director Tony Tether told a House Armed Services Committee panel that the NCRS is:
“… a mobile, self-healing ad hoc network gateway approach that provides radio/network compatibility on-the-move in any terrain – including the urban environment. NCRS has built interoperability into the network itself, rather than having to build it into each radio, so any radio can now be interoperable with any other. Today, using NCRS, previously incompatible tactical radios – military legacy, coalition, and first responder – can talk seamlessly among themselves and to more modern systems, including both
military and commercial satellite systems.”
Development of NCRS is part of DARPA’s Mobile Ad hoc Interoperability Network Gateway (MAINGATE) program, which will enable radios to be integrated into a heterogeneous network tolerant of high latency and packet loss. The technology development for the program will permit tactical, real-time, high-fidelity video, data, and voice services to support tactical operations in either maneuver or dismounted operations. A MAINGATE node consists of the gateway advanced mobile ad hoc network (MANET) IP radio, WAN port, LAN port, and operator console for a recurring production unit cost target (sell price to government) of $60,000 (constant FY09$) per unit for a volume purchase of 1,000 units after the successful satisfaction of the base program objectives.
MAINGATE will be a connection point that allows users employing a heterogeneous set of radio technologies (both proprietary and non-proprietary) to communicate through an IP network. The Wireless IP-capable Network (WIPN) will provide the high bandwidth connectivity among air and ground mobility platforms. The network will include the integration of adaptive communications architecture, flexible routing architecture, and heterogeneous application services. A unique characteristic of the MAINGATE program is the integration of a “default” IP radio network as part of the gateway. It is envisioned that a large fraction of the IP networking technology will be commercial or based upon commercial systems.
Raytheon explained that the architecture of the MAINGATE system allows for many more users to join the network at the same time and enables more than 30 different military and civil radios to communicate with one another while concurrently providing a high-capacity, mobile network. One of the technologies used in the system’s development is Raytheon’s MANET protocols, which enable the MAINGATE system to be mobile, allow nodes to join or leave the network, and expand to a large numbers of systems.
Other technologies incorporated into the MAINGATE system, according to Raytheon, include disruption-tolerant networking, which is designed to overcome disruptions inherent in wireless, line-of-sight communications systems; dynamic spectrum access to establish and maintain communication in congested radio frequency or noisy environments; and multi-input, multi-output technology to improve performance in urban environments.
Raytheon will perform the work in Fullerton, CA (19.54%); Fort Wayne, IN (25.88%); Rancho Cucamonga, CA (7.19%); Vienna, VA (3.20%); Cambridge, MD (7.02%); Columbia, MD (22.45%); and Melbourne, FL (14.72%). The company expects to complete the work under this contract by September 2012. Bids were solicited on the Web with three bids received by DARPA (HR0011-09-C-0083).