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CHIPS Articles: News from the JPEO for the Joint Tactical Radio System

News from the JPEO for the Joint Tactical Radio System
By CHIPS Magazine - October-December 2009
JPEO JTRS teams with UCSD to develop Project 25 Waveform porting guidelines

Project marks a crucial step for JTRS radio compatibility with state/local first responders

The Joint Program Executive Office, Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS) is working on the Project 25 (P25) waveform porting project in conjunction with the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) facility. The effort is phase one of a three-phased approach by the JPEO JTRS designed to allow interoperable capability between military radios and emergency and first responder agencies.

During phase one, the UCSD engineers will use the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) and JTRS Application Program Interfaces to initially implement P25 in a software simulation. Next, they will port the waveform to a COTS development platform, which will then lead to a demonstration of radio frequency end-to-end functionality. Finally, the team will demonstrate interoperability with commercial P25 radios, simulating military interoperability with commercial off-the-shelf first responder radios running the P25 waveform.

Formerly called APCO-25, P25 is now a joint effort between the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials - International, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the National Association of State Telecommunications Directors (NASTD), and various agencies of the federal government. P25 encompasses the development of standards for digital telecommunications technology, including an objective to determine consensus standards for digital radio equipment embracing elements of interoperability, spectrum efficiency and cost.

"This is a crucial step toward making JTRS radios interoperable with first responders," said Dr. Richard North, the technical director for JPEO JTRS. "Phase two will be to port the UCSD-developed P25 waveform onto a JTRS radio with additional modes which may include encryption, trunking and analog FM. Both phase one and two are risk mitigation efforts before moving to the third and final phase."

Phase three of the project will be the incorporation of the P25 waveform into the JTRS program of record, which provides the management and funding mechanism required to deliver the radio to military end users.

Interoperability for a first responder participant requires public safety agencies (fire, police, medical) to have direct communications when they operate with one another across disciplines and jurisdictions. To facilitate this communication goal, agencies are looking at non-military waveform standards such as P25.

Using a standardized suite of waveform standards allows radio sets, manufactured by different vendors, to communicate. Ultimately, porting the P25 waveform to JTRS radios will allow military organizations to interoperate with state and local agencies in times of an emergency such as a disaster relief scenario.

"The JTRS radios will host the ported P25 waveform as well as JTRS networking and current force military waveforms such as SINCGARS (Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System), EPLRS (Enhanced Position Location Reporting System), HF, Link 16, or UHF SATCOM (Ultra High Frequency Satellite Communications)," Dr. North said. "With all these waveforms on the same radio we can provide direct communications to P25-equipped first responders, as well as routing and retransmitting messages from the P25 net to current force radios. This provides a tremendous capability for unit commanders equipped with JTRS radios."

About Calit2 UCSD
The University of California San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), together with Calit2’s division at University of California, Irvine, houses more than 1,000 researchers across the two campuses, organized around more than 50 projects. With a focus on discovery and innovation at the intersection of science, engineering and the arts, Calit2 constitutes one of the largest multidisciplinary research centers in the nation.
Research is conducted on the future of telecommunications and information technology and using these advancing technologies to transform a range of applications. For more information, please visit www.calit2.net.

About Calit2/JTRS project
The Calit2/JTRS Software Defined Radio (SDR) Project is a collaborative research effort supported by JPEO JTRS involving Software Communications Architecture SDR platforms for development and porting of SDR waveforms, creating a high performance amplifier (HPA) test-bed, and hosting the JTRS Open Information Repository (IR). For more information, please visit http://jtrs.calit2.net.

Enterprise Domain Demonstrates Wideband Networking Waveform

The Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW), a critical capability of the Joint Tactical Radio System, successfully demonstrated its validated design and tactical utility June 3 and 4 during a multi-node demonstration with senior service and Department of Defense officials at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C. Thirty ground mobile radios were used in the largest demonstration of the capability to date.

"The Wideband Networking Waveform overcomes many mobile networking challenges," said Navy Capt. Jeffery Hoyle, program manager for the JTRS Network Enterprise Domain. "We've now demonstrated [that] this capability successfully scales to tactically useful numbers of nodes in an operationally relevant environment and is on track to meet joint warfighter requireExperiments to provide a flexible and pervasive networking capability to address the challenges of modern battlefields."

The event demonstrated how the WNW, operating on JTRS ground mobile radios, can effectively network 30 mobile and static nodes, sharing data and video across multiple sub-networks in a challenging, heavily forested suburban environment with significant multi-path propagation effects.

"During this field demonstration testing, WNW performed as expected, and we were able to validate laboratory performance improvements from recent waveform algorithm enhancements in the field," Hoyle said. "The ability to integrate waveform enhancements rapidly while testing in the field (three times in as many weeks) thoroughly demonstrated a significant advantage that JTRS provides — the ability to upgrade warfighter communications and networking capability while deployed through software only updates in fielded radios. This is an important accomplishment, and this capability that has now been successfully demonstrated in a field environment can be leveraged continuously throughout the WNW product life cycle."

The WNW is a networking waveform that enables connections between vehicles, aircraft and ships using mobile networking technologies. WNW offers the ability to transit more information with greater security and provide new capabilities to seamlessly route and retransmit information. Performance results measured during this demonstration indicate a significant new networking capability that will continue to improve as the data collected are thoroughly analyzed to enable additional waveform software upgrades, as well as through processor and power amplifier improvements inherent with the improved Ground Mobile Radio Engineering Development Model hardware being delivered now, and the Airborne/Maritime/Fixed Station hardware in the future.

The WNW is a high data rate networking waveform application that provides a tactical Internet backbone to connect tactical forces across the battlespace. It features the following signals-in-space under the initial increment: Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing and anti-jam. WNW provides high throughput, dynamically adaptable connectivity for the exchange of IP-based voice, data and video traffic, and will support network nodes on mobile, airborne and maritime platforms.

WNW includes networking services, security, High Assurance IP Encryptor capabilities, red-black switching and internal routing of other WNW signals. Increment 1 (first quarter) is scheduled later this year on a Ground Mobile Radio Engineering Development Model.

JPEO JTRS and PEO Integration team with UK Defense Agencies

The JPEO JTRS International Programs Directorate and the PEO Integration, formerly known as the Future Combat Systems Joint Interagency Multi-National Interoperability (JIMI) team, completed a demonstration of communications interoperability that will greatly enhance and benefit coalition warfighting capabilities. JPEO JTRS and PEO Integration partnered with the U.K. Defense Science and Technology Laboratory and Defense Equipment and Support agency to participate in the Multinational Experiment 3.0 at Fort Monmouth, N.J., April 29. MNE 3.0 successfully demonstrated interoperability between the U.S. ITT-developed Soldier Radio and the U.K. Advanced Digital Radio+ using the JTRS Bowman Waveform (JBW).

MNE 3.0 included many first-time achievements that offer tremendous opportunity for improved battlefield interoperability with coalition partners — porting and demonstrating operation of JBW in a handheld software defined radio; successful interoperability through exchange of secure voice and data between the two nations' communications systems; and use of a foreign nations' cryptographic keying material in a U.S. secure network. The demonstration was performed in a closed (non-radiating) lab environment where the team successfully exchanged data using voice messaging, and demonstrated the ability to pass crucial situational awareness and fire control data on a shared U.S. and U.K. communications network.

Working closely with the National Security Agency and its U.K. counterpart, Communications Electronics Security Group, the United States imported and used non-U.S. mission data and keying material for the experiment. This unprecedented use of foreign crypto was critical to the successful interoperability between the two nations' radios and will support development of processes for future exchange of tactical keying material for coalition usage.

The JBW project between the United States and United Kingdom began in September 2003 under a Cooperative Research Development Memorandum and two separate Tactical Communications Project Arrangements (PA). The initial PA is a cooperative agreement established to develop the JBW in an effort to promote increased interoperability capabilities between the two countries. Under the second PA, the JBW was ported to a JTRS representative radio for the purposes of demonstration in a test, training or operational environment. The waveform was tested for interoperability with the ADR+ using a JTRS developmental test bed in June 2007. It was delivered to the JTRS Information Repository in October 2007. This activity represented the first development of a non-U.S. waveform, with associated crypto, in a software instantiation, targeted to a software communications architecture compliant software defined radio.

Future plans include expanding the success of this experiment by conducting live (radiating) demonstrations where mission data will be transmitted in a real-time battlefield environment.

These objectives and demonstrations are being pursued under the memorandum of understanding and project arrangements concerning interoperability of tactical communications systems between the two governments.

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