ELMSFORD, N.Y., 16 April 2009. Hypres Inc., developer of the Digital-RF product line, with support from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) and ViaSat, demonstrated the industry's first all-digital Link-16 multi-net receiver prototype. It is the culmination of a multiyear development by the two companies sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, Washington, D.C., and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, PMW-150.
The receiver simultaneously digitized signals from two Link-16 radios operating on two independent Link-16 networks, says a representative. The project was undertaken as part of a joint effort by the United States Navy and United States Air Force to develop innovative concurrent multi-netting solutions.
"This was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our all-digital advantage addressing one of the most difficult RF challenges in military datalinks," says Richard Hitt, Hypres CEO. "We're looking forward to increasing the number of simultaneous nets served by a single system, as I know firsthand the importance of operating multiple Link-16 nets in theater operations," says the retired Air Force officer and 20-year wireless industry veteran.
Link-16 is the primary high-speed, airborne tactical link used by United States and coalition forces for situational awareness and information exchange. It is designed to be resistant to electronic countermeasures.
SSC Pacific's Advanced Tactical Data Link Concepts Group hosted the demonstration at the new Center of Excellence for Cryogenic Exploitation of RF. In addition to Hypres and ViaSat, the demo also was supported by SSC Pacific's GPS Navigation Systems Research and Development Group.
Key to the demonstration was the single superconductor analog-to-digital converter (ADC) chip from Hypres which was used to digitize the 969-1206 MHz Link-16 band. All subsequent processing of the signal in the digital domain was handled by ViaSat's Link-16 baseband processors.
Analog hopping synthesizers and down-converters were eliminated by digitizing the combined RF signal from the two Link-16 radios operating on two independent Link-16 networks, describes a company official. With programmable digital circuitry, two copies of this digitized RF signal were independently "de-hopped," down-converted, and passed to two modified Link-16 radios, each with a direct digital baseband interface.
In addition to the ADC, the prototype included a superconductor RF filter to excise the potential interference from Identified Friend or Foe (IFF) signals, and a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) field-programmable gate array (FPGA). The demonstration highlighted the level of integration achieved in hybrid superconductor-semiconductor electronics, where cryogenic and room temperature components are optimized for overall performance.