Software-defined networks, commercial satellite communications, cognitive electronic warfare, intelligent radios and artificial intelligence applications all potentially offer the military advanced capabilities for the tactical environment, say Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s (APL’s) Julia Andrusenko, chief engineer, Tactical Wireless Systems Group, and Mark Simkins, program manager, Resilient Tactical Communications Networks.
Rohde & Schwarz USA Inc., Columbia, Maryland, has been awarded a $9,218,160 firm-fixed-price, requirements contract for the purchase of Versatile Diagnostic Automatic Test Station (VDATS) kits. The purpose of this acquisition is to procure the kits required to assemble the VDATS stations. The VDATS is an organically designed test station with open architecture and virtual modular equipment extensions for instrumentation technology. Work will be performed in Columbia, Maryland, and is expected to be completed February 9, 2026, and no funds are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Sustainment Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8571-21-D-0006).
Serco Inc., Herndon, Virginia, is awarded a $38,699,699 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-price provisions for radio frequency distribution and control systems. Work will be performed in Herndon, Virginia, and is expected to be complete by September 2025. Fiscal 2020 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $181,762 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the beta.SAM.gov website with two offers received. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, is the contracting activity (N66604-20-D-R000).
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Warner Robins, Georgia, has been awarded an estimated $66,851,248 requirements contract for the supply chain management of the AN/ALQ-155, AN/ALQ-161, AN/ALQ-184 and AN/APN-241 systems. This contract provides for repairs, spares and engineering services for the mentioned systems. Work will be performed at Warner Robins, Georgia, and is expected to be completed September 9, 2028. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2020 defense working capital funds are being used and no funds are being obligated at the time of the award. Air Force Sustainment Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8524-20-D-0012).
First RF Corp.,* Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded a maximum $24,900,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with cost-plus-fixed-fee completion orders for radio frequency electronic antenna cancellation/beamforming technology software/hardware prototypes. This contract provides for research, development, testing, evaluating and deploying advanced radio frequency (RF) systems. These systems may support any of the various RF functions such as radar, communications, electronic warfare, signals intelligence, direction finding, etc. Work will be performed in Boulder, Colorado, and is expected to be completed August 13, 2026. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition.
Savi Technology Inc.,* Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $45,805,123 firm-fixed-price contract for active radio frequency identification transponder tags to track equipment worldwide. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. As part of the Internet of Things (IoT), the company's so-called aRFID infrastructure provides “always on” information on the location and condition of in-transit supplies and equipment to enable critical situational awareness for emergency response or military operations.
To improve long-range radio frequency communications, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are working on a method of combining signals at the receiver level after multiple relays and a single transmitter. The solution is meant to extend line-of-sight communications. Finding an affordable alternative to beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications usually provided by satellites, aircraft or drones is an important priority for the Navy and the Defense Department, says Aaron Cohen, computer engineer and electrical engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory, known as the NRL.
BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Rockville, Maryland, is awarded a $104,775,349 cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This contract will provide engineering and technical services to support production, lifetime support engineering and in-service engineering for the radio communication system/command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems aboard Navy surface combatants and at associated shore sites.
NATO’s Science and Technology Organization took notice of the military potential of same-frequency simultaneous transmission and reception, or SF-STAR, capability employed with full-duplex radio technology, and in 2017 formed an exploratory team to examine the potential use in tactical communications and electronic warfare.
Mercury Defense Systems Inc., Cypress, California, is awarded a $13,720,509 firm-fixed-price delivery order (N6833519F0285) against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-17-G-0017). This order is for 27 Type II advanced digital radio frequency memories hardware and software for the Navy, Air Force, National Guard and Reserve components. Work will be performed in Cypress, California (72%); and West Caldwell, New Jersey (28%), and is expected to be completed in June 2021.
The modernization, proliferation and commoditization of electronics make contending with peer and near-peer adversaries more difficult, according to Chuck Hoppe, director of science, technology and engineering at the U.S. Army’s Combat Capability Development Command C5ISR Center. “For every good thing we bring out of technology, someone inevitability wants to use it for nefarious purposes. That has been the biggest change in the past 20 years, and it’s what made things significantly more deadly and lethal,” he says.
Phase Sensitive Innovations, Newark, Delaware, has been awarded a $10,553,397 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development. This contract will design, develop and demonstrate RF-photonic systems, sub-systems, components and devices for the Coherent Homodyne Integrated RF-Photonic System. Work will be performed at Newark, Delaware, and is to be completed by November 15, 2023. This award is the result of a Small Business Innovation Research III request for proposal acquisition with one offer received. Fiscal year 2018 research and development funds in the amount of $10,553,397 are being obligated at time of award for the effort.
Keysight Technologies Inc., Englewood, Colorado, is being awarded a $9,850,400 indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for up to 350 radio frequency vector signal generators in support of the Naval Air Systems Command’s Metrology and Calibration Division. Work will be performed in Singapore, and is expected to be completed in January 2026. Fiscal 2019 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $84,432 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; two offers were received.
Transphorm, Inc.*, Goleta, California, is awarded $15,869,322 for modification P00002 to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-price contract (N68335-19-C-0107) to exercise an option. The option modification procures the continued services and materials necessary to conduct research and development for the United States based dedicated production source of Gallium Nitride Epitaxy for high performance Radio Frequency and Millimeter Wave Electronics.
A U.S. military-funded artificial intelligence (AI) contest that wraps up later this year may result in radio devices capable of autonomously and collaboratively sharing radio frequency spectrum for the next generation of mobile devices.
Fifth-generation (5G) cellular services are widely expected to hail a new era of greater speed, reduced latency and the ability to connect many more devices—think smart cities and the Internet of Things—and move vastly more data. The wireless revolution is fueling a voracious global demand for access to the radio frequency spectrum, but managing that increasing demand in a way that avoids interference is a challenge.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Florida, is awarded $33,373,999 for cost-plus-fixed-fee modification P00044 to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-16-C-0035). This modification provides for the redesign, integration and test of radio frequency sensors as part of a cost reduction initiative in support of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile. Work will be performed in Wayne, New Jersey (40 percent); Nashua, New Hampshire (40 percent); and Orlando, Florida (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2021.
The U.S. military is moving an advanced radio-frequency mapping capability from the laboratory into the hands of warfighters. Developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the technology will give land-based forces vital situational awareness of the radio spectrum as they fight on an increasingly digitized battlefield.
Facing daily threats in an ever-changing operating environment, warfighters need a quick way to assess the digital topography. And for modern-day soldiers and Marines fighting in dense urban environments, this means having a read on the spectrum.
Altamira Technologies Corp., McLean, Virginia, has been award a $24,634,635 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for research and development. The contract will provide cutting-edge research and development of radio frequency (RF) systems and sub-system technology concepts, to provide next-generation RF sensing technologies to external customers and the warfighter. Work will be performed in McLean, Virginia; Fairborn, Ohio; and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with an expected completion date of June 29, 2023. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition, and four offers were received. Fiscal 2018 research and development funds in the amount of $200,000 are being obligated at the time of award.
BAE Systems Information and Electronic Technology Solutions, Burlington, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $9,286,398 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for radio frequency (RF) emissions made unique and separable/dynamic adaptive neurally-inspired control for efficient RF surveillance software. This effort is focused on developing foundations for applying machine learning to the RF spectrum domain and developing practical applications in emerging spectrum problems to develop vastly improved discrimination performance over today’s hand-engineered RF systems. Work will be performed in Burlington, Massachusetts; Merrimack, Massachusetts; Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; and Reston, Virginia. The work is expected to be complete by June 8, 2021.
SilverBlock Systems Inc.,* Leonardtown, Maryland, is awarded a $7,584,576 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for applied research and integration efforts for electro-radiometric improved navigation to add new capabilities to radio frequency operations using geospatial hypotheses product line, to include laboratory, field testing, and integration. Work will be performed Leonardtown, Maryland (50 percent); and Rochester, New York (50 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2022. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $475,244 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured under a broad agency ann
The combination of so-called additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, electromagnetic simulation and mechanical design software is enabling innovative antenna and radio-frequency components. Engineers are harnessing these tools to design, fabricate, test and manufacture lightweight, highly complex antennas and radio-frequency products.
Melding materials three-dimensionally into state-of-the-art antennas would not be possible without key software platforms. For this, antenna producer Optisys relies on technology from ANSYS Incorporated. Started in 1970 as a small company in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, ANSYS now has 75 offices in 40 countries. As a multiphysics business, ANSYS looks at all aspects of physics design—structural, thermal, fluid dynamics and electronics.
Andover, Massachusetts-based Mercury Systems, Incorporated will provide state-of-the-art radio frequency (RF) modules for missile defense systems, under a $2.2M defense prime contractor order. The modules will be integrated into a ballistic missile defense radar system using the company’s small form factor packaging of RF microelectronics. "Receiving this new order to support performance-enhancing upgrades for one of our nation’s ballistic missile defense programs underscores the success of Mercury’s next generation business model," said Kevin Beals, vice president and general manager of Mercury’s RF and Microwave group.
The military is developing a new battlefield tool that will help ground forces navigate hostile territory without the susceptibility of GPS platforms. Instead, warfighters will use radio frequency signals as a source of positioning information. To display navigational solutions on a map, the tool connects to a smartphone running the Air Force’s Android Tactical Assault Kit.
In conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Sterling, Virginia-based Echo Ridge LLC is designing the technology to fit in a small, low-power package that can be carried by ground operators, according to Mark Smearcheck, an electronics engineer with the AFRL Sensors Directorate.
The KeyW Corp., Hanover, Maryland, has been awarded a $23,924,180 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Research to Advance Comprehensive Exploitation of Radio Frequency (RF) Research and Development (R&D) program. This contract provides for the R&D of RF exploitation technology with innovative algorithmic approaches for dynamic and flexible sensing, capable of leveraging all available information to maximize sensing and exploitation performance, to address concurrent detection, tracking, imaging, and classification/identification of targets within contested and challenging environments with singular and distributed sensing architectures.
Advances in a plethora of military communication and situational awareness platforms have created unintended repercussions for the U.S. Navy, from the “forest of antennas” that can consume a ship’s deck to the debilitating effects of radio interference that clog airwaves and impede critical links to vessels, aircraft, drones and even satellites. Navy engineers are toiling on a handful of projects to ensure effective and secure communication links, which are so fundamental to military operations.
First RF Corp., Boulder, Colo., is being awarded a $24,900,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Small Business Innovation Research Program (Phase III) effort to research, develop, test, evaluate and deploy advanced radio frequency systems. The location of the performance is Boulder, Colo. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013. Work is expected to be completed by March 2019. The contracting activity is the Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, N.Y.
SRA International Inc., Fairfax, Va., was awarded a $30 million firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of services in support of the Passive Radio Frequency Identification II. The Army Contracting Command, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity.
Alion Science and Technology, McLean, Va., was awarded a $1.5 million contract by the Spectrum Policy and Programs office, within the Defense Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, to study the impact of potentially reallocating or sharing the radio frequency bands between the military and commercial sector. Alion will assist in developing a long-term spectrum strategy that will anticipate, guide and respond to changes in technology, policy and regulation and ensure spectrum access for all current and future military systems.
Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Sudbury, Mass., is being awarded a potential $22,937,540 for firm-fixed-price delivery order for the procurement and fabrication of Stabile Master Oscillator ordnance alteration kits, Radio Frequency Coherent Combiner ordnance alteration kits and associated spares and material and installation services in support of the Aegis modernization effort on Navy ships and Aegis ashore units. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $22,937,540. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
The U.S. Air Force has awarded General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Fairfax, Virginia, a nearly $8 million contract to develop an open system architecture (OSA) common back-end digital processor for the entire family of Air Force radio frequency electronic devices, to include radars, signals intelligence sensors, electronic-warfare and communication systems. General Dynamics will use open interface standards to develop modular, plug-and-play, multi-mission electronic back-end processors that leverage technologies developed under other OSA initiatives conducted by the Office of Naval Research.
Alion Science and Technology Corporation, Chicago, Illinois, has been awarded a nearly $9 million contract to provide the U.S. Army research and development on identifying and securing access to radio frequencies, spectrum supportability and efficiency risk assessment, electromagnetic analysis, and equipment spectrum certifications. The U.S. Air Force 55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.