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Low-power-cost-weight, rapidly-Installable, Medium-Range Interplane Communications Capability (LIMRICC)


OBJECTIVE: Use low-cost, low-power omni or directional wideband RF systems for interplane coordination on IP-compatible aerial networks for C2ISR wide-body mission aircraft having in-flight separation up to 100 nmi. DESCRIPTION: Major modifications to command-control aircraft mission crew net-centric enterprise systems have taken decades to complete and hundreds of millions of dollars to implement. ESC is examining simple, low-cost, lightweight, affordable, wideband wireless systems involving minimum Group A and Group B modifications to enhance the somewhat-modernized mission systems capabilities of command-control-intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance (C2ISR)"wide body"aircraft. Some of these mission systems, now partially-equipped for IP-like network environments, support low-level functions, such as text chat, voice over IP (VoIP), and transfer of moderately large data files/streaming data in much the same way we expect of our ground-based IP-based personal computer (PC) networks. The goal of this topic is to provide an innovative solution for a low-cost installation, demonstration, and use of low-power, omni-directional and/or low-power, directional wideband RF systems. Support for IP or IP-like provisioning of aerial networking collaboration functions supported by Type 2 security (e.g., AES) during initial demonstration is desired. This capability may require Type 1 encryption for in-service use, which is outside of this topic"s scope. All data and systems will be unclassified for purpose of the SBIR/STTR Phase I and Phase II. The threshold range desired is 100 nmi airborne separation between aircraft. The successful bidder will also project systems changes and cost that would allow up to 150 nm aircraft separation. Since EMI determination is an MDS-specific evaluation, and will be ultimately performed by the aircraft prime, assume each of three platforms (nodes) will be within 7,000 feet of altitude and not closer than 15 nm of the other two nodes when modeling initial placement of antennae for in-cruise use. In addition, assume that two or more of these nodes could be based together and that ground test/use of the capability would be expected and demonstrated, as well. Frequency of this interplane IP wireless capability will be somewhere within VHf to Ku Band frequencies. (VHF, UHF, L, S, C, X, Ka, or Ku band). Vendor, working with the SPOC and TPOC, will commit to demonstration in specific frequencies and waveforms authorized for military use. A multi-band system is also of interest. The minimum single point-to-point data rate required is 6 megbits per second (Mb/s) with 2 nodes on ramp, 2.5 Mb/s with two airborne nodes at a standoff distance of 40 nmi in a non-jamming flight test environment, and 250 kb/s with 2 airborne nodes at a standoff distance of 100 nmi in a non-jamming flight test environment. PHASE I: Identify frequencies, waveform(s), antennae, likely airborne nodes, and emulation requirements. Through modeling and simulation, demonstrate the ability to meet the stated range and data rate requirements. With sponsor, identify Group A/B mods, mission applications and functions for Phase II. Identify EMI concerns and Phase II schedule. Outline interfaces to standalone mission systems. PHASE II: Develop 4-6 complete RF transceiver units, antennae, power supplies, and power amplifiers for demonstration purposes by the midpoint of phase II. Perform bench, lab, ramp tests, and emulation demos. Comply with experiment/exercise requirements, to include flight test safety requirements. Perform flight measurements, report results and prepare for follow-on activities in next phase or commercialization phase. PHASE III: Using CPP, project, or similar funding, provide demonstration utilizing existing or new Type 1 encryption (GFE). Provide, at least, a minimum level of interfacing to on-board mission systems; at a minimum to network-connected computers, either fixed mission systems or portable devices. REFERENCES: 1. AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 63-131,"MODIFICATION PROGRAM MANAGEMENT", accessible at 2. Schug, Todd; Dee, Christina; Harshman, Nikki; Merrell, Ryan."Air Force Aerial Layer Networking Transformation Initiatives". MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE, 2011 - MILCOM 2011.
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