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DARPA to announce 100G program to build 100-gigabit-per-second air-to-air data links

Posted by John Keller

ARLINGTON, Va., 19 Dec. 2012. U.S. military researchers are about to let industry in on a plan to develop air, ground, and sea-based wireless communications links with speeds matching today's fiber-optic connections for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) applications.

Military data link specialists at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., will brief industry on 9 Jan. 2013 about the upcoming 100 Gb/s RF Backbone (100G) program, which seeks to develop airborne-to-airborne and airborne-to-ground communications links that move data as quickly as 100 gigabits per second.

Briefings will be from 9 12:30 p.m. at System Planning Corp. (SPC) located at 3601 Wilson Blvd., 6th floor, in Arlington, Va. DARPA is expected to release a solicitation for the 100G program (DARPA-BAA-13-15) before the industry briefings.

The 100G program seeks to develop a communications link with fiber-optic-equivalent capacity, long reach, and high availability in airborne-to-airborne and airborne-to-ground configurations that can serve as a deployable data backbone in a military communications network.

The program envisions aircraft, ground vehicles, surface ships, and fixed ground sites that provide 100 gigabit-per-second capacity at ranges of 125 miles for air-to-air links and 62 miles for air-to-ground links.

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DARPA scientists want 100G network nodes to function in clouds, rain, and fog while maintaining tactically-relevant throughput and link ranges. 100G networking equipment should match the weight and power metrics of today's Common Data Link (CDL) for high-capacity data streaming from intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft ships, ground vehicles, and fixed sites.

The 9 Jan. Briefings are to provide information on the 100 100G program; promote additional discussion; address questions from potential proposers; provide a forum for potential proposers to present their capabilities for teaming opportunities; and conduct one-on-one sessions with the DARPA 100G program manager.

Companies interested in attending DARPA's 100G briefings should register no later than 3 Jan. 2013 by e-mail to Include full name, organization, address, citizenship, telephone number, and e-mail address of attendees. Use "PROPOSERS DAY" in the subject line.

Attendees may request to present company overviews, discuss their technology expertise, and discuss teaming opportunities. Afternoon one-on-one sessions with Richard Ridgway, the DARPA 100G program manager, will be available.

More information is online at

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