US Army’s $billion$ ‘Wi-Fi from the sky’

Raytheon will deliver new troposcatter communication systems to the US Army as part of a 10-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract worth up to US$663 million to ensure troops have access to secure voice and data communications in contested environments.

CAPTION: A Raytheon troposcatter transmitter on US Army field testing. The system works by scattering signals in the troposphere to overcome the limits of terrain and the potential loss of satellite availability. Raytheon image.

President of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services Dave Wajsgras said soldiers on the front lines couldn’t afford dropped calls.

“Our solution, a secure, reliable and wireless troposcatter system, allows troops to communicate in areas that would otherwise be dead zones,” Wajsgras said.

“Importantly, it also gives the military a way to communicate in satellite-denied environments.”

“Troposcatter – short for tropospheric scatter – technology uses particles that make up the Earth’s atmosphere as a reflector for radio signals.

“Those signals are aimed just above the horizon in the direction of a receiver station.

“As they pass through the troposphere, some of the energy is scattered back toward the Earth, allowing the receiver station to pick up the signal.

“Essentially, it creates a secure communications network without the need for cellular towers or satellites.”

In addition to battlefield use, troposcatter systems are ideal for crisis response – one of the key challenges first responders face is a lack of reliable communications after a natural disaster – but, by deploying a troposcatter system, responders can quickly establish networks even where there’s no available power.

Systems are easily transportable and can be set up in less than 30 minutes.

Vice president for Raytheon IIS Todd Probert said, “Think about any natural disaster over the last several years; one of the biggest problems is a lack of reliable communications”.

“A troposcatter system easily can be deployed anywhere in the world and can transfer data at extremely high rates – the equivalent to streaming 10 high-definition videos simultaneously at a range of more than 115 miles.”

Raytheon will begin delivering the first units by the end of 2019.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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