Air Force reaches out to industry for ways to ensure communications in nuclear events

ROME, N.Y., 18 Sept. 2015. U.S. Air Force researchers are asking industry for new ways to safeguard military communications amid the blast, radiation, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) caused by detonation of nuclear weapons.

Air Force reaches out to industry for ways to ensure communications in nuclear events
Air Force reaches out to industry for ways to ensure communications in nuclear events
ROME, N.Y., 18 Sept. 2015. U.S. Air Force researchers are asking industry for new ways to safeguard military communications amid the blast, radiation, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) caused by detonation of nuclear weapons.

Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y., issued a request for information (RFI-RIK-15-04) this week for the Nuclear Communications for Aerial Systems and Technologies (NCAST) project.

NCAST involves communications technologies that can survive and operate through nuclear explosions using frequencies that offer less competition for spectrum, high capacity, and resilience in nuclear environments.

The project also involves modeling, simulation, and emulation (MS&E) systems that can characterize the effects of existing and new airborne communications systems operating in atmospheric environments with electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and nuclear scintillation present.

Researchers are looking for information to help them better understand existing company offerings and the status of research and development of airborne communications technologies designed to operate effectively in nuclear environments.

Related: Raytheon to develop strategic SATCOM system for nuclear command and control

Airborne communications in the higher frequency bands are expected to offer increased levels of radio communications survivability, endurance, and resilience in nuclear atmospheric environments, Air Force researchers say.

Radio transmissions in certain wideband frequencies not only allow for relatively high data rates and anti-jam features but also offer high levels of resiliency in the presence of nuclear scintillation and high-altitude EMP.

Air Force researchers are looking for wideband radio transceivers that provide efficient spectrum use, anti-jam features, low-probability of intercept, secure transmissions, and overall robust operation in nuclear environments.

Researchers also are interested in optical transceivers that can operate reliably amid nuclear radiation, blast, and EMP effects. Optical communications offer anti-scintillation capabilities and high data rates but are limited by their inability to operate reliably in rain, clouds, smoke, and other atmospheric obscurants.

Related: Rockwell Collins to tackle survivable battle management communications for U.S. nuclear forces

Also of interest are radiation-hardened RF antennas that not only can operate in nuclear atmospheric effects, but also that are small and lightweight enough to install on military aircraft. Researchers also want RF and cyber security to safeguard communications systems from jamming, eavesdropping, or cyber attacks in nuclear environments.

Companies interested should email non-classified responses no later than 14 Oct. 2015 to the Air Force's Robert Riley at robert.riley.12@us.af.mil. Send classified responses by registered mail to AFRL/RITF, 525 Brooks Road, Rome NY 13441-4505, Reference RFI-RIK-15-04.

Email technical questions to Rober Riley at robert.riley.12@us.af.mil or Paul Gilgallon at paul.gilgallon@us.af.mil. Email business questions to Gail Marsh at gail.marsh@us.af.mil.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFMC/AFRLRRS/RFI-RIK-15-04/listing.html.

More in Trusted Computing