The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for developing emerging technologies for military use, is coming up with a technology that will keep squadrons connected even when during jamming attacks.
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, DARPA announced its latest program named Dynamic Network Adaptation for Mission Optimization (DyNAMO) that will aim to keep unmanned and manned combat aircraft connected when enemies try to jam and hinder their communications.
"We aim to develop technology that dynamically adapts networks to enable instantaneous free-flow of information among all airborne systems, at the appropriate security level and in the face of active jamming by an adversary," said Wayne Phoel, DARPA program manager.
The technology that is being developed is not very straightforward. Many combat aircraft in the U.S. operate on different platforms that have incompatible radio networks using different encryption schemes. DOD has developed special data-link gateways, which acts as universal translators between them, but the gateways' bandwidth is limited.
Phoel says that existing airborne networks in the U.S. are not intended to manage the complications of up-to-date dynamic and distributed combat missions. The challenge in this field is also expected to increase over the next few years.
DyNAMO targets at enabling pilots in a specific aircraft and with particular sensors to easily find and share information with other different forms of aircraft, whether unmanned or manned to get a complete vision of the combat battle space.
DARPA is expecting that the technology being developed by DyNAMO will run some customized radio hardware via the Communications in Contested Environments (C2E) program. The C2E program essentially seeks to translate and update data-link gateways with a design, which nearly resembles those used in commercial smart phones.
DARPA hopes that the technology will be useful in real-life situations.