May Radio Roundup

Currawong Radio Interface System

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

FMC300 helps SDR Upgradability

Abaco Systems has shared details regarding their FMC300 wideband, low latency FMC (Field Programmable Gate Array Mezzanine Card) module. “The FMC300 brings Analog Devices’ AD9084 multi-channel wideband radio frequency analogue-to-digital converters and digital-to-analogue converters into a FMC module designed to VITA 57.4 open standards,” Dinesh Jain, a senior product manager at Abaco Systems, tells Armada. “Most military radio hardware is designed for modularity to allow for future SDR (Software Defined Radio) upgradeability,” says Mr. Jain. One of the most common methods to achieve this SDR upgradeability “is through the industry-standard FMC connector.” The company’s FMC300 module can be installed into existing radio hardware. The module can also be installed into new systems using low-latency processing carriers such as Abaco’s SOSA (Sensor Open Systems Architecture) aligned 3U VPX VP891 Xilinx FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) board. Mr. Jain says that the FMC300’s seven gigahertz “wideband characteristics” mean that a single multi-band radio based on the FMC300 can replace multiple single-band transceivers. This helps reduce system complexity, footprint, maintenance, power consumption and weight. “Rather than having to support multiple, different RF modules operators can select the FMC300 and load the appropriate software and firmware to support a particular mission.” This approach reduces overall support and training costs, and allows for design reuse. “The FMC300 is available now and it is currently being designed into several different programmes including SDR and other applications,” says Mr. Jain.

Herrick Technology Laboratories provide a range of signals intelligence, electronic warfare and military communications systems to US government and allied customers.

Herrick Moves Forward

On 10th April Herrick Technology Laboratories (HTL) announced it had received an investment of $25 million from Blue Delta Capital Partners. A press release announcing the news said HTL “designs and manufactures integrated hardware and software products and systems implemented through a core Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform. The SDR platform incorporates high performance, multi-channel radio frequency and microwave receive and transmit functionality along with mission-specific firmware/software applications.” The $25 million investment “allows us to accelerate fielding the cutting-edge signals intelligence and electronic warfare products and solutions that we provide to US government defence and intelligence customers, as well as our nation’s allies.” Acie Vickers, HTL’s chief executive and co-founder, told Armada that the funding will also assist the development of “our next generation of high performance, low SWAPC (Size, Weight and Power Consumption) software defined radios along with processing improvements against sophisticated signals.” These capabilities will be made available from this year onward, Mr. Vickers continued.

DOCK StreamCaster Debuts

Silvus Technologies has joined forces with Kägwerks to develop the DOCK StreamCaster family of tactical networking systems Silvus Technologies announced in a press release published on 16th April. The DOCK StreamCaster is a soldier-worn tactical networking system. DOCK stands for Dismounted Operator’s Combat Kit. The press release continued that the DOCK StreamCaster combines Silvus Technologies’ StreamCaster MANET (Mobile Ad Hoc Networking) handheld radio with a Samsung S23TE militarised smartphone. The phone includes the ATAK (Android Team Awareness Kit) tactical situational awareness software application. ATAK was developed by the US Air Force’s research laboratory. The press release says that the DOCK StreamCaster combines the radio with Kägwerks’ DOCK dismounted soldier equipment. Silvus Technologies told Armada in statement that the first three DOCK StreamCaster models are now complete. Orders are being received. The two companies worked closely with a pilot customer in the US federal law enforcement community “to develop and refine the design of the DOCK StreamCaster.” The statement added that this pilot customer “has been operating a fleet of DOCKs in a hybrid network along with their existing StreamCaster radios, supporting tactical teams with both air and ground assets.” The ensemble has been tested in a range of environments from jungle to desert. Silvus Technologies is seeing a lot of customer interest in the product family, particularly “as a turnkey ground station” for uninhabited aerial vehicles using Silvus Technologies’ systems.

Dock StreamCaster
Silvus Technologies has joined forces with Kägwerks to develop the DOCK StreamCaster of dismounted soldier systems which combines the former’s StreamCaster tactical radios with wearable end user devices like smartphones.

by Dr. Thomas Withington