SAN DIEGO, 15 April 2013. U.S. Navy communications experts are asking engineers at Comtech EF Data Corp. in Tempe, Ariz., to design an advanced satellite communications (SATCOM) processor to boost data rates among surface warships, submarines, and shore communications installations.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) awarded Comtech a $7.5 million contract last week for to design and build the Advanced Time Division Several Access (TDMA) Interface Processor (ATIP) Layer-3 Ethernet bridging device to link ships, submarines, and shore sites over military SATCOM links at high data rates than are available today.
The ATIP will replace the relatively old TDMA Interface Processor (TIP), which was developed between 1997 and 2002, and is installed on ships and submarines with medium-data-rate EHF SATCOM capability, as well as on several shore gateway facilities such as Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master station (NCTAMS) sites, Submarine Broadcast Command Authority (BAA) sites, and U.S. Department of Defense Teleport sites.
The ATIP that Comtech will design will provide transparent bridging among Internet Protocol (IP) users located throughout the world and connected via Milstar medium-data-rate (MDR), Advanced Extremely High Frequency MDR/Extended Data Rate (XDR), or Enhanced Polar XDR SATCOM links. The ATIP will send and receive data at faster rates than the TIP system it replaces.
The old TIP provides high-bandwidth, wide-area, networked data exchange over Milstar satellites for IP, Link-16 Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), and Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) traffic at data rates as fast as 1,544 kilobits per second in support of surface and submarine fleet operations. The original TIP solution required no changes to the attached network devices.
The ATIP capability is a necessary Navy SATCOM upgrade to meet requirements to support connectivity during fleet operations, and is a key requirement for the PMW/A 170 Navy Multiband Terminal (NMT) system, which relies on the TDMA Processor for IP connectivity, Navy officials say.
For the ATIP contract, Comtech engineers will concentrate on software design and development, COTS hardware procurement, some hardware development, hardware and software integration, related testing, and software maintenance.
The contract has options that could increase its value to as much as $28.4 million. Comtech will do the work in Tempe and Scottsdale, Ariz., and should be finished by April 2014. Options could lengthen the duration of the contract until March 2018.