CLARKSBURG, Md. – Military radio designers at Thales Defense & Security Inc. in Clarksburg, Md., needed mobile ad-hoc networking (MANET) capability for the company’s AN/PRC-148E Spear tactical radio. They found their solution from Persistent Systems LLC in New York City.
Thales and Persistent Systems have collaborated on a combined tactical communications solution, which the companies unveiled last week at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa, Fla.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has wanted the ability to deliver a combination of MANET tactical networking and military radio to enhance communications and electronic control of unmanned vehicles in difficult terrain where hills and mountains can block radio signals.
MANET is a decentralized wireless network in which each communications node participates in routing by forwarding data for other nodes; even if one point-to-point radio link is blocked, the signal still gets through from other nodes that are repeating the message.
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The combined Thales and Persistent Systems MANET and tactical radio capitalized on an advanced radio-over-IP capability to tether a Thales AN/PRC-148E Spear radio to a Persistent MPU5 wireless networking communications by bringing the Spear on to a digital network as an IP talk group.
“Imagine a helicopter transmitting on an AM frequency to a dismounted ground team,” explains Shane Flint, vice president of business development at Persistent Systems. “With traditional tactical radios, some users might receive the helicopter’s transmission and other users might not. But with a Spear/MPU5-equipped team, if any single Spear radio receives the helicopter’s transmission, the entire team will receive it.”
The Thales AN/PRC-148E Spear weighs 1.24 pounds and has programmable cryptography that supports the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) crypto modernization program.
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The Spear radio connects to the MPU5 MANET device via a specially designed cable to enable the MPU5 to auto-configure wireless communications settings and channel presets on the Spear remotely to eliminate operator error and deliver plug-and-play capability.
“This capability was designed for combat operations, based on real-world feedback,” Flint says. “The goal was to deliver a simple no-fail solution that empowers the warfighter.”
For more information contact Thales Defense & Security online at www.thalesdsi.com, or Persistent Systems at www.persistentsystems.com.