Army asks industry for ideas on developing open-systems integrated digital radio and EW

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., March 31, 2016 U.S. Army researchers are turning to industry for new ways to build combined digital radio, surveillance and electronic warfare (EW) systems that are compact enough for Army aircraft and ground vehicles .

These systems should be small in size, weight and power (SWaP) and make the most of open systems standards such as OpenVPX for embedded computers, VICTORY for embedded networking, the Modular Open RF Architecture (MORA) for RF and microwave systems, and REDHAWK interfaces for software interoperability.

Officials from the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., issued a solicitation notice this week (W56KGU16RA311) for the Modular Open Radio Frequency Architecture (MORA) project.

The solicitation requires companies to submit white papers on new ways to design SWaP-optimized converged EW and command, control, communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) architectures that rely on OpenVPX, VICTORY, MORA and REDHAWK for Army platforms.

Related: RF and Microwave Open Systems Standards Take Shape in Military Embedded Computing Industry

OpenVPX defines the compute module form factors and the standard high-speed switching fabric for high-speed embedded computing systems. VICTORY — short for Vehicle Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability — defines standard connections for future networked armored fighting vehicles.

MORA, meanwhile, comes from the US Army Communications Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground and seeks to create standard RF and microwave system modules as the embedded computer industry has standardized on board form factors, electronic connections, backplane connectors and electronic chassis.

MORA’s effort recognizes the embedded computing industry’s OpenVPX standards initiative as a potential model for creating standards for open systems RF and microwave systems.

REDHAWK is a software package that supports the design, development, deployment, management, upgrade and recycling of network-enabled software-defined radios (SDRs) in real time.

Related: Army Seeks to Improve Vetronics for Wide Area Networks in Its Fleets of Armored Fighting Vehicles

This project involves the Army CERDEC Integrated Product Team for Working Level Hardware/Software Convergence planning a modular open family of hardware and software for interoperable C4ISR/EW capabilities on Army platforms.

The Army’s primary goal is to obtain industry feedback on the draft MORA V2.0 specification to support hardware and software convergence and other initiatives.

Top-level Army interest includes software-defined radio; RF condition and propagation; Radiohead integrations of antennas and RF conditioning circuits; MORA signal port interfaces; VITA 49.2 for digital radio frequency distribution; off-the-shelf software for processing RF signals; MORA processing port interfaces; software development frameworks and operating environments; using REDHAWK with hardware acceleration such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and digital signal processors (DSPs); using 10/40 Gigabit Ethernet for low-latency messaging; and comments on the CERDEC converged architecture of OpenVPX, MORA, VICTORY and REDHAWK.

Related: 6U OpenVPX Rugged Embedded Multiprocessor for Radar and Sonar Introduced by Abaco

Interested companies must submit 15-page white papers to the Army no later than April 28 on [email protected].

Request a copy of the draft MORA V2.0 specification online at

Email questions or concerns to Oladayo Kaka of the Army at [email protected]. More information is online at

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