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RF Hardware/Software Convergence

Thursday August 21, 2014

What is it?

U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) is working with government and industry partners to deconstruct command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and electronic warfare (EW) systems to enable the sharing of common modular hardware in order to reduce size, weight and power requirements, cut lifecycle costs, and enable rapid technology insertion for the Soldier.

Why is this important to the Army?

Radio Frequency (RF) Hardware and Software Convergence will dramatically decrease Army platform and Soldier electronics size, weight and power and the configuration burden across Army formations. It will also enable the rapid insertion of next generation technologies into a common and standardized framework, allowing the Army to outpace adversarial threats to our C4ISR and EW systems. The modular approach will reduce overall procurement, non-recurring engineering, lifecycle, and management costs.

What has the Army done?

CERDEC has developed specifications for backplane communications for modular hardware components. This includes efforts to reduce electromagnetic interference, improve ruggedization, and reduce unnecessary redundancy. The focus is on extending the vehicle integration for C4ISR/EW interoperability standards as necessary to support inter- and intra-chassis communications.

The U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity conducted an independent consumption, holding, repair, and transportation analysis to project the logistics tail for maintaining C4ISR and EW equipment with the implementation of RF Hardware and Software Convergence. In addition to a weight reduction of 16,000 pounds of Class IX stock per brigade combat team, it was estimated that fuel consumption would decrease by at least 2.7 percent per brigade during wartime.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?

CERDEC is developing modular architecture specifications for a standard “A-Kit,” to include the electronics chassis, backplane, mounting, RF, control and topology. An adaptable “B-Kit,” consisting of antennas, filters, amplifiers, switches and relays would then enable mission configuration agility for C4ISR and EW applications.

The center is conducting early analysis on all facets of Information Assurance to ensure that insertions of Hardware and Software Convergence technologies meet National Security Agency requirements for certification.

In addition to detailed specifications that support procurement, a series of increasingly mature and complete demonstrations of the A-Kit/B-Kit concept will be conducted on one or more Army platforms.


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