Navy chooses L-3 Communications Systems-East to integrate COTS-based HF-radio military networking system

June 27, 2019
BFTN-HF augments satellite communications to provide global network connectivity for ships, submarines, aircraft, and naval shore sites via HF radio.

SAN DIEGO – U.S. Navy communications experts needed a company to integrate commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components into a long-haul military voice and data communications network that works over HF radio bands. They found their solution from L-3 Communications Systems-East in Camden, N.J.

Officials of the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWARSYSCOM, formerly SPAWAR) in San Diego announced a $41.5 million five-year contract to L-3 this week for the HF portion of the Battle Force Tactical Network (BFTN-HF) system.

L-3 experts will buy and integrate COTS high frequency Internet Protocol (HF IP) and subnet relay military networking hardware and software into a configuration for the Navy's Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (PEO C4I).

BFTN-HF works together with satellite communications (SATCOM) and other global communications technologies to provide network connectivity for ships, submarines, aircraft, and naval shore sites via HF radio.

Related: General Dynamics upgrading Navy shipboard radio with long-range HF automatic link establishment (ALE)

This HF communications mode uses radio frequencies between 2 and 30 MHz to bounce radio signals off the ionosphere to achieve over-the-horizon global voice and data communications. HF radio can be tricky to use because it is affected by constant changes in the ionosphere, by the seasons, and by the presence of thunderstorms.

The BFTN system also has an ultra-high-frequency component called BFTN-UHF) for line-of-sight voice and data communications.

The BFTN system uses COTS and government-furnished hardware and software to provide networked RF data connectivity over HF and UHF bands as an intra-force adjunct for long-haul communications.

Related: Navy chooses HF radios from Rohde & Schwarz for shipboard and mobile long-range communications

BFTN provides integration capabilities for robust Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity across the Secret Internet Protocol Routing Network (SIPRNET) and Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System-Maritime (CENTRIXS-M) systems.

This connectivity enables the BFTN system to provide voice and data communications links among surface warships and submarines when SATCOM links are unavailable.

On this contract L-3 will do the work in Camden, N.J., and should be finished by June 2024. For more information contact L-3 Communications Systems-East online at, or the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command at

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