MANNING, S.C. – Humanitarian assistance experts at the South Carolina National Guard in Manning, S.C., needed deployable communications networking in case of hurricanes and other natural disasters. They found their solution from Persistent Systems LLC in New York City.
Persistent Systems demonstrated in November how the rapidly deployable All-Domain Network can enable U.S. National Guard humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations—even if a hurricane had knocked out local communications infrastructure, such as cell phone towers and internet service.
The field demonstration, which was conducted with industry partners Klas Government, NexTech Solutions, and Tampa Microwave for South Carolina Army and Air Force National Guard units, serves as a follow-up to a tabletop exercise conducted in May.
“We are starting to see -- especially those of us living in coastal areas -- increasingly powerful storms coming with increasing frequency,” says Adrien Robenhymer, vice president for business development at Persistent Systems.
“These storms not only threaten human life; they also take out communications, making it difficult for state governments to coordinate relief efforts, Robenhymer says. Persistent Systems specializes in mobile ad-hoc networking (MANET) technologies.
In the wake of a devastating storm, the All-Domain Network (previously called the Emergency Response Integrated Edge Network) provides a unified communications network to enable National Guard units to establish internet, radio, video, and messaging capabilities.
The field demonstration had the South Carolina National Guard units set up the All-Domain Network (contained within a Tactical Radio Integration Kit, or TRIK, from Klas Government and supported with the NexTech Solutions MANTLE automated deployment software) at a local base acting as the central Emergency Management Division.
Meanwhile, users in the field, acting as rescue teams, employed Persistent Systems MPU5 MANET radios and Tampa Microwave satellite terminals.
“The All-Domain Network connected ground vehicles, dismounted rescuers, helicopters and U.S. Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft,” says Chris Wallower, sales engineer for Persistent Systems. “There was seamless communication between all the parties and total situational awareness at the Emergency Management Division.”
Persistent Systems has powered similar lean, over-the-horizon communications networks with the U.S. Air Force and its Civil Air Patrol (namely, the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network (AERONet)). Likewise, during a Michigan demonstration, it helped land four Air National Guard A-10 Thunderbolt II and two Air Force Special Operations Command C-146 Wolfhound aircraft on a U.S. highway.
“It was the first time anyone has ever done so in U.S. history,” said Robenhymer, “and it demonstrates the ability of Persistent to deliver an agile and reliable communications capability to operators in austere or emergency conditions.”