Secure Adaptive And Intelligent The Future Of Military SDR Applications

from John OnseaEditor

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Software-defined radio plays a critical role in the military’s communications infrastructure. Let’s take a look at ways the military can use this technology in the future.

Software-defined radio (SDR) is a radio communication system in which components traditionally located in analog software—such as mixers, filters, amplifiers, modulators/demodulators, and detectors—are implemented in software instead.

A computer with a sound card or other analog-to-digital converter and an RF front end are the basic system requirements for an SDR that can receive and transmit a wide variety of radio protocols based on the software used. This technology is used by the military and for mobile phone services due to its ability to manage different radio protocols in real time. SDRs are expected to one day become the dominant technology in radio communications, along with software-defined antennas.

A brief history of SDR

The SDR concept emerged in the 1970s and 1980s from the combined efforts of various research groups in the US private and government sectors, primarily the US Department of Defense Laboratory and a team at the Garland, TX Division of E- Systems Inc. , writes Springer Link.

It was the E-Systems (now Raytheon) team that coined the term “software radio” in 1984 to refer to a digital baseband receiver that provides programmable interference cancellation and demodulation for wideband signals. In the same year, Ulrich L. Rohde’s department at RCA developed the first SDR while working under contract to the US Department of Defense using RCA’s COSMAC chip, according to ComSoc.

“In 1991,” writes Spring Link, “Joe Mitola independently reinvented the term Software Radio (SR) in collaboration with E-Systems as a blueprint for building a true software-based GSM transceiver. To see also : IAI releases software-defined radio system with innovative network-centric operations capability. The SR platform essentially handles almost all transceiver algorithms as processor software (including) almost all transmission layers.

SDR implementations initially focused on military applications due to their ability to transmit a wide range of radio waves and protocols through software programming. Over time, SDRs have evolved to support wider bandwidths, higher data rates, and multichannel architectures, driven by advances in digital signal processing, hardware design, and integrated circuit technologies.

According to NI (now part of Emerson), SDRs were initially met with skepticism, but have gradually become the de facto industry standard in a variety of fields, including military communications, signals intelligence, electronic warfare, test and measurement, and spectrum monitoring. Today, SDRs are the dominant technology enabling frequency-flexible intelligent communication systems with increased flexibility and efficiency.

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More from “Voodoo Magic”

SDR is popular among amateur radio enthusiasts who use the technology for radio communication, satellite tracking and signal decoding. Radio amateurs, especially the younger generation with ECE/CS degrees, love the technology, but parts of the older generation don’t see SDR as “voodoo magic” with too many PC/network dependencies.

Radio amateur and professional technologist Onno Benschop (VK6FLAB) says to his podcast Basics of Ham Radio (April 28, 2019)that describing an SDR as “a traditional radio where all the components are implemented in software” is akin to “explaining how radio works by waving your hands and saying: here’s the magic”. Benschop says the way SDR works is more interesting and thought-provoking than that.

“You may have heard that software-defined radio hears all frequencies at the same time,” says Benschop. “It’s basically a voltmeter connected to your antenna that outputs measurements as quickly as possible for a computer to process. See the article : LIG Nex1 primed for ROK Army Radio Requirement. The waveform that comes from these antenna voltage measurements represents the entire radio spectrum and is just the beginning of what you can do next.

“In the same way that my voice is made up of many different parts all played together, the radio spectrum is made up of local broadcast stations, local TV stations, cell phones, garage remotes, Roy on the Net 7130 DX , this podcast on your local repeater, all at the same time, all played back together to make the waveform that represents the measurements you make at the base of the antenna. Unlike a traditional radio, which has to work hard to filter out unwanted information, a software-defined radio can filter out information by simply deleting those measurements you don’t care about.

While Benschop is interested in SDR because of his love of amateur radio, defense agencies around the world seeking advanced communications solutions are also using it to the point that it is emerging as a vital component in modernizing military communications systems.

SDR and the military

The military has used SDRs for years for a variety of applications, including: To see also : UAS for military use will reach $34.34 billion by 2031, report predicts.

  • Battlefield Communications
  • Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)
  • Military Air Traffic Control (ATC)
  • Radar control
  • Communications Over the Horizon in Motion (COTM)
  • Command and control system management

Because they are built with built-in open architectures, SDRs enable rapid adaptation to adversary capabilities and efficient deployment of emerging technologies. Standardized radio hardware can be easily upgraded with new waveforms, allowing US forces to communicate between services within the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) environment. Avionics adds that running multiple waveforms simultaneously ensures secure communication without being spied on by opposing forces.

The military also values ​​the technology’s ability to offer secure communications in conflict zones. This became evident when Ukrainian forces were able to target radio transmissions from commercial radio stations and mobile phone conversations used by poorly trained and equipped Russian soldiers. Protected SDRs provide greater mobility, survivability and protection against electronic warfare systems as well.

finally according to Military Embedded SystemsSDRs can engage in spectrum jamming and handle synchronized ground and airborne radio networks, improving information sharing and facilitating shared situational analysis.

In summary, SDRs are critical for secure and adaptable military communications, and their future applications extend beyond traditional radio functions. They improve situational awareness, security and interoperability between services and platforms.

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SRT and the military – future uses

SDRs currently serve as network management devices and communications repeaters due to their flexibility, adaptability, and ability to support a wide range of waveforms and protocols. These same attributes are expected to lead to the continued use of SDR by the military in the following ways:

  • Interoperability and legacy system integration: One of the key advantages of SDRs is their ability to support multiple waveforms and communication protocols through software updates, allowing interoperability between different radio systems. This will allow the military to seamlessly integrate new SDR systems with existing legacy radio hardware, reducing the need for costly hardware replacements and enabling a gradual transition to advanced communications technologies.
  • Cognitive and adaptive radio capabilities: Future SDRs are expected to include cognitive and adaptive radio capabilities, allowing them to dynamically sense and adapt to the radio frequency environment, optimizing spectrum use and mitigating interference. This will be particularly useful in contested and congested electromagnetic environments, providing reliable and secure communications for military operations.
  • Secure and congestion-resistant communications: SDRs can be designed with advanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities, providing secure and jam-resistant communications for military operations. This will be critical for protecting sensitive information and maintaining communications links in a hostile environment.
  • Integration with emerging technologies: SDRs can be integrated with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and 5G networks, enabling advanced capabilities such as intelligent spectrum management, automated waveform adaptation and high-speed data transfer. This will support the military’s need for real-time situational awareness, data-driven decision-making and high-bandwidth applications.
  • Satellite Communications and Navigation: SDRs can be used for satellite communications and navigation, enabling global connectivity and precise positioning of military assets. This will be essential for coordinating operations in different theaters and providing accurate targeting and tracking capabilities.
  • Unmanned Systems and the Internet of Things of the Battlefield (IoBT): SDRs will play a vital role in providing communication and control for unmanned systems such as drones and autonomous vehicles, as well as the Internet of Things on the battlefield (IoBT), which involves the interconnection of various sensors and devices on the battlefield. This will improve situational awareness, improve decision-making and enable new operational capabilities.

Overall, the flexibility and adaptability of SDRs makes them well-suited to the rapidly evolving and demanding requirements of modern military communications, ensuring that armed forces can stay ahead of emerging threats and employ innovative technologies.

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