February Radio Roundup

Bittium Software Products
Bittium won a contract in early December 2023 to develop and produce a software router for the Finnish Defence Force. The new product will ease the extension and enlargement of tactical networks for deployed troops.

Armada’s monthly roundup of all the latest news in the military communications product, programme and operational domains.

New Software Router

In early December Bittium was contracted by the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) to develop a new software-based router for tactical communications, according to a press release. Software routers will be used as an “alternative and flexible” way to add routers to tactical networks, “when there is a suitable virtual platform available for the purpose” according to the press release. By using software routers troops will be able to develop “even bigger network entities for tactical communications.” Tactical networks can be combined using the software router to extend routing domains in fixed backbone networks. “When all devices are using the same routing protocol, the network can always select the most cost-effective path for communications.” This connection with the backbone can be facilitated with Bittium’s Optimised Link State Routing (OLSR) protocol. The OLSR protocol allows free network mobility for network routers “without the need for the user to configure the network when its topology or the quality of the connections change.” Bittium told Armada in a written statement that production of the software router is ongoing and should conclude in 2025. The company declined to share details regarding when the router will be deployed with the FDF.

Space 5G

Lockheed Martin is moving ahead with its research on space-based Fifth-Generation (5G) communications. These efforts have crystalised in the Advanced 5G Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) satellite base station. A written statement supplied to Armada by the company says the NTN “is a self-funded prototype designed to demonstrate how 5G in space enables global connectivity and advanced communications capabilities.” Lockheed Martin envisages the NTN payload being integrated onto military and commercial satellites. Laboratory tests performed in late 2023 saw the simulation of a satellite orbital pass during which “the payload successfully connected with prototype user equipment and transferred data, including live video streaming.” The statement added that the NTN operates in six gigahertz/GHz 5G frequencies. The payload will be updated in the future to support 5G frequencies above 18GHz. NTN is currently assessed as being at the US Department of Defence’s Technology Readiness Level Six (TRL-6). TRL-6 denotes that a system or subsystem model or prototype has been demonstrated in a relevant environment. Over the long term, Lockheed Martin hopes to move the NTN to TRL-8 by the end of this year. TRL-8 denotes that the system has been completed and qualified through tests and demonstrations. The company said the payload will be installed on its self-funded Tactical Satellite demonstration spacecraft. The satellite is expected to be launched in 2024. “Regenerative 5G from space will be critical to global connectivity for commercial, military and national security customers alike,” the statement concluded.

Calling all speakers!

The Royal Air Force Museum has announced its call for speakers for its 2024 lecture series. The museum is planning a series of lectures, covering the whole gamut of air power, to take place throughout the year. The lectures will be held online and throughout the United Kingdom. The museum has sites in London, Wolverhampton in the West Midlands and Lancaster in the north of England. Proposals for lectures are sought from postgraduate students, early-career and established researchers. The objective of the lectures is to share new research being undertaken in air power, aviation history and histories of air forces. This includes the Royal Air Force’s, and air power’s, use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Proposals in diverse, related fields and their relationship to the RAF and air power will also be considered. These fields can include, but are not restricted to, archaeology, law and ethics, museology, international relations and strategic studies. Papers relating to the future direction of air and space power are particularly welcome. The lectures enable those interested in these fields share knowledge and highlight interdisciplinary approaches and research methods. Those interested in responding to this call for papers should send a 300-word abstract outlining their idea along with a 200-word biography, both of which should be written in English. Abstracts and biographies should be sent to Dr. Megan Kelleher, the RAF Museum’s historian and academic access manager, at [email protected]. The deadline for abstract and biography submissions is 1st March.

RAF Museum
The RAF Museum recently launched its call for papers for its 2024 lecture series. The museum is seeking speakers on a diverse range of topics related to air power, including electromagnetics.

by Dr. Thomas Withington