DARPA RF-FPGA program awards six contracts to develop programmable RF front-ends

ARLINGTON, Va., 30 Aug. 2012. RF and microwave technology experts at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., are working with six defense companies and universities to develop programmable RF front-end components to reduce costs and development time for military communications, electronic warfare (EW), and signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems.

DARPA has awarded six contracts thus far for the Radio Frequency Field Programmable Gate Arrays (RF-FPGA) program, which seeks to reuse the same set of RF front-end components across different applications by programming the transceiver chain.

Essentially, the DARPA RF-FPGA program attempts to do for RF and microwave technology what field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have done for digital computing, which is to reduce costs, cut development time, and ease development across a broad range of applications.

The RF-FPGA program will develop technology that eliminates redundant and costly hardware development necessary to use a new wireless function or waveform. RF FPGA components will contain analog circuitry with reprogrammable functions. Unlike digital FPGAs, however, the program does not seek to develop technology that strictly uses typical gate-level digital FPGA hardware.

Those DARPA has chosen to participate in the RF-FPGA program are the Northrop Grumman Corp. Electronic Systems segment in Linthicum, Md.; the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles; the Boeing Co. Research & Technology segment (BR&T) in Seattle; Colorado Engineering Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Northrop Grumman won a $9.5 million contract on 17 Aug.; USC won a $3.3 on 20 Aug.; Boeing won a $2 million contract on 15 Aug.; Colorado Engineering won a $1.9 million contract on 6 Aug.; IBM won a $1.2 million contract on 30 July; and Purdue won a $861,049 contract on 6 July.

DARPA researchers say the hardware its contractors develop in the RF-FPGA program will help realize dynamically programmable analog and RF blocks and programmable transceivers capable of configuring for a variety of wireless applications while maintaining near optimal performance. The RF-FPGA program hardware also should be adaptable to future wireless standards.

Ultimately, the program seeks to reduce costly and time-consuming application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) tape-outs by capturing the performance of several RF systems in one RF-FPGA design cycle, DARPA officials say.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems online at www.es.northropgrumman.com; USC at www.usc.edu; Boeing Research & Technology at www.boeing.com; Colorado Engineering at www.coloradoengineeringinc.com; the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center at www.watson.ibm.com; or Purdue University at www.purdue.edu.

Additional information about the DARPA RF-FPGA program is online at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=7c438631d57659b7b9f932df6d3da484&tab=core&_cview=1.

Follow Military & Aerospace Electronics and Avionics Intelligence news updates on Twitter

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Wire News provided by   

social activity

Webcasts

Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Digital signal processing for signals intelligence and electronic warfare

Military & Aerospace Electronics presents an expert Webcast on the design considerations for blending general-purposes processors (GPUs), general-purpose graphics processors (GPGPUs), field-programmable ...
Sponsored by:

Advantages of Intel Architecture Products and Wind River Solutions in Military & Aerospace Applications

This webinar explains the individual advantages of the Intel Architecture hardware, available for long-life supply, and the WRS software portfolio.  There are extraordinary advantages of combining such ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

View the 2014 Buyer's Guide Now!


Mil & Aero Magazine

September 2014
Volume 25, Issue 9
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE