COTS Technologies Drive Battlespace Communications

As military officials know, it’s increasingly important to provide the right information at the right time to combat soldiers. Proven communications technology in the battlespace is now crucial to military success. At the same time, the amount of data being collected on the battlefield is growing exponentially as the number of concurrent sources increases.

Today’s militaries are turning to successful commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) communications technologies, based on open industry standards such as 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE), to deliver the hardware and software for Command and Control (C2) applications. These products are mature, scalable and have proven to be reliable and robust with lower total cost. They are also quicker to market, are easier to maintain, and have better system longevity than proprietary, government-unique systems.

In the new network-centric battlespace, personnel and equipment are connected on a common digital network. Building an LTE network suitable for battlespace communications in a tactical environment is relatively easy today given the broad availability of COM Express and ATCA platforms in today’s marketplace. Capable COTS communications technologies are ready to be adapted now for rapid integration into the modern battlespace, and deliver capable communications where and when they are needed. COM Express and ATCA are key factors in enabling the new network-centric battlespace—with fast, secure, and reliable information sharing that increases real-time situational awareness for soldiers in the field and results in better-informed decisions and faster, more accurate responses to threats.

Designed for the latest sets of chips and serial signaling protocols, COM Express specifications consist of a family of small form factor computers-on-module (COMs) appropriate for a range of military and aerospace applications.

ATCA delivers high performance, high capacity for C2 applications. It’s ideal for demanding aerospace and defense applications. Soldiers at sea, whether on a ship or submarine, can communicate using smartphones and similar consumer-level devices through a single, ship-wide ATCA communications platform that can provide an LTE communications network that supports thousands of users.

Radisys was the first to announce COM Express modules with quad-core Intel processing technology, along with ruggedized extended temperature variants. Our proof-of-concept LTE-in-a-Box solution that leverages Trillium LTE software, along with an eNodeB radio device, to deliver a powerful end-to-end LTE solution that is small enough to allow an entire network to be picked up and moved, or even carried in a soldier’s pack. Likewise, LTE network-enabled TOCs and Humvee shelters increase the flow of information between commanders and personnel on the battlefield, bringing mission-critical communications – including texts, images, and video – to the tactical edge, something militaries have been requesting for years.

COTS-based, LTE-enabled solutions are a great way for aerospace and defense customers to modernize the battlespace for next-generation net-centric warfare.

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