US: US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded L-3 Communications a USD16.4 million contract to continue work on the agency’s mobile hotspot solution. The Mobile Hotspots programme is an attempt to overcome the challenges of data transmission in remote areas outside of forward operation locations, according to DARPA. The programme is developing a mobile millimeter-wave communications structure to connect soldiers in the field with forward-operating bases, tactical operations centers, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets.
Current military systems are unable to support mobile operation in remote geographic areas as a result of small network sizes and the short range of military radios. The ultimate goal is to provide cell-tower-grade performance without traditional, ground infrastructure. The contract will support the programme for Phase 2 and an optional Phase 3. In Phase 2, L-3 is to develop radio and router pods containing mobile hotspot subsystems to be mounted on Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles. The pods would create UAV-borne mobile hotspots. The estimated completion date is March 12, 2015. Using UAVs is a part of the vision of the programme, which will utilize organically-placed air, mobile and fixed assets to provide gigabit-per-seconds speed to soldiers.
Source: Defense systems