Military researchers eye RF and microwave signal processing technologies for signals intelligence (SIGINT)

Nov. 25, 2019
Researchers want RF SIGINT signal processing in a rack-mount chassis with SWaP suitable for aircraft, ground vehicles, or fixed-site applications.

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. military researchers are asking industry for advanced signal-processing technologies that enhance the operating bandwidth of real-time RF and microwave signal detection and recognition capabilities for future generations of signals intelligence (SIGINT).

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) released a solicitation Thursday (HR001120S0001) for the Coho program to develop RF signal processing that could create an asymmetric advantage for tactical operations in anti-access and area-denial environments.

DARPA researchers want to develop RF signal-processing systems packaged in a rack-mount chassis with size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP) suitable for aircraft, ground vehicles, or fixed-site applications.

Tactical signal processing underpins the ability of U.S. and allied forces to orient and maneuver in the electromagnetic spectrum. Coho seeks to enhance tactical signal detection and recognition with RF and microwave enabling technologies for surveillance, filtering, and localization.

Related: DARPA asks industry to develop photonic-electronic processor for advanced signals intelligence

Surveillance combines wide operating bandwidth with noise isolation for background electromagnetic search in the low signal to noise ratio environment.

Filtering isolates signals based on modulation features to process signals in the presence of co-channel interference.

Localization, meanwhile, supports low-latency execution of multi-aperture processing for discrimination of signals based on angle of bearing.

Coho will be a 39-month two-phase program potentially with several contractors involved -- at least in the first phase.

Related: Army researchers eye reconfigurable RF and microwave gear for radar, EW, SIGINT, and communications

Phase 1 performers will carry the system architecture through a conceptual design, with modeling and simulation, and phase 2 will mature the design through preliminary and critical designs, and integrate the Coho brassboard system.

Companies interested should request a classified addendum with additional details by email at [email protected], with “Request HR001120S0001 Security Classification Guide and Classified Addendum” in the subject line, no later than 6 Dec. 2019.

DARPA will brief industry on the Coho program the collateral SECRET level from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday 18 Dec. at the MITRE-3 Building, ,7594 Colshire Drive, in McLean, VA 22102. Register for the briefings by emailing [email protected] with “Proposers Day RSVP” in the subject line.

Email questions or concerns to DARPA at [email protected]. Proposals for the Coho program are due no later than 28 Jan 2020. More information is online at

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