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Next Generation Encrypted Wireless Intercom Waveform


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Sensors 

OBJECTIVE: Propose and develop next generation hardware and waveform for the Encrypted Aircraft Wireless Intercom System (EAWIS) capable of supporting both voice and data while meeting a new mission time requirement of eleven hours. 

DESCRIPTION: The Medevac community has expressed interest in a wireless data bridge through the Blue Force Tracking (BFT) satellite network capable of sending live video of a patient to a doctor from an HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter. The existing EAWIS in the field can be linked to the BFT system but does not currently support a waveform capable of handling wireless data fast enough to support video. There are two existing manufacturers of encrypted wireless intercom systems certified for Type I communication. Neither company’s existing product can support data at a rate needed to broadcast live video. The new waveform must be resistant to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) requirements per MIL-STD-461E, Radiated Susceptibility test RS-103, and Table 1A of MIL-STD-464 for deck operation on ships for rotary wing aircraft. The proposed system must support an operational time of 11 hours continuous audio transmittal assuming data packets of 1 TX, 7 RX, and 16 idle (~ 33%). The proposed system must perform one hour of continuous video (output only from user to BFT network) at a video resolution of 720p, 30 frames per second, with an output screen resolution of 1280x720 pixels within the eleven hours of continuous operation. The proposed system must support a USB input capable of providing the video resolution being broadcast by the medic. The system must allow a plug in module or a software upgrade to enable Type I encryption. 

PHASE I: This effort shall generate a feasibility study which defines whether an existing or new waveform can be built to the data and voice requirement in the 2.4 Ghz bandwidth of supporting duplex voice and data transmittal in the EMI environment defined above. The deliverable for Phase I shall be a report of the findings, a prototype waveform in a simulation environment demonstrating waveform capability, projected size, weight and power consumption, and a recommendation for a path forward. Size and weight projection must demonstrate a successor system for the handheld and aircraft mounted components that are equal or less than current component size and weight with battery life supporting eleven hours of operation. A new performance specification shall be delivered which identifies all of the new capabilities of the EAWIS. 

PHASE II: This effort shall build and produce a quantity of not more than four prototype hardware systems consisting of two handhelds and one base station per system capable of sending unencrypted voice and data through a proposed waveform compliant with the EMI environment requirements and prove out this capability in a lab. The hardware shall demonstrate the capability of inserting a Type I encryption capability. The hardware shall demonstrate simultaneous video and audio transmittal with a simulated encryption software to replicate processor load for one hour and continuous audio for ten hours for a total of eleven hours of operation. A new item specification for the EAWIS shall be delivered. A study shall be delivered outlining a program cost and schedule to introduce a Type I encryption module, certify the system for NSA Type I application, and bench test of the system for all performance requirements in the new item specification. All hardware developed under Phase II shall become the property of the US Government as a deliverable. Without the encryption module inserted, the system could easily be offered as a commercial product offering data and ICS capability to airline maintenance, fueling, or flight attendant duties. 

PHASE III: A Type I encryption module which enables Over The Air key fill of the handheld radio will be introduced as a plug in capability to the design created and tested in the Phase II program. The new system will enter the certification process for Type I encryption at the National Security Agency (NSA), test to the requirements of the item specification, and be integrated on the H-47 and H-60 series helicopters for development and operational testing. 


1: Performance Specification for the Encryption Capable Aircraft Wireless Intercom System, document 780-LE68-PS02, revision G. (Uploaded in SITIS on 8/28/17)


KEYWORDS: Wireless Intercom, Waveform, Encryption, Audio, Video, Over The Air Key 

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