Providing high-bandwidth communications for troops in remote forward operating locations is not only critical but also challenging because a reliable infrastructure optimized for remote geographic areas does not exist. To overcome the challenge of data transmission in remote areas, the Agency's Mobile Hotspots program intends to develop and demonstrate a scalable, mobile, millimeter-wave communications backbone with the capacity and range needed to connect dismounted warfighters with forward-operating bases (FOBs), tactical operations centers (TOCs), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and fixed communications infrastructure. The backbone should also provide reliable end-to-end data delivery between hotspots, as well as from ISR sources and command centers.
The program envisions air, mobile and fixed assets, most of which are organic to the deployed unit, that provide a gigabit-per-second tactical millimeter-wave backbone network extending to the lowest-echelon warfighters. To achieve this capability, the program seeks to develop advanced millimeter-wave pointing, acquisition and tracking (PAT) technologies that are needed to provide high connectivity to the forward-located mobile hotspots. Advanced PAT technology is key for connectivity to small UAVs, for example, enabling them to serve as flying nodes on the mobile high-speed backbone. Additionally, the program seeks novel technologies to increase the transmission power of millimeter-wave amplifiers to provide adequate ranges within the small size, weight, and power (SWAP) constraints required for company-level unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
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