DVD2022: Bringing stealthy, next-generation tactical communications to life

Mark Barrett, Chief Commercial Officer, Blu Wireless

Due to the ever evolving demand for wireless capabilities, spectrum is becoming a scarce resource that everyone, including the armed forces, is vying for. The military has even been forced to sell part of its traditional spectrum for commercial use. As this interesting article notes, in order to protect the warfighter of the future, the military will need to venture outside traditional radio spectrum to ensure stealthy next-generation wireless communication.

Indeed, I would argue that the challenge of next-generation military communications can only be solved by addressing spectrum availability and utilising the, so far, largely untouched mmWave spectrum bands, including Q, V, W and higher.

Some of the latest technologies leveraging the mmWave spectrum to deliver high-performing and stealthy communications will be brought to life at the upcoming trade show DVD2022, the much-anticipated industry event taking place at UTAC Millbrook on 21st and 22nd September 2022.

Tactical communications and 5G

The main theme of this year’s event is ‘Mobilise and Modernise – A Decade of Delivery’, which will focus on the modernisation of the British Army through the delivery of major equipment programmes, modernising support and collective training, exploiting future technology and lighting the forges of industry through the Land Industrial Strategy (LIS).

A major programme currently being undertaken by the UK Ministry of Defence, is the Land Environment Tactical Communications and Information Systems (LE TacCIS) programme which aims to deliver next generation tactical military communications.

IEEE 5G mmWave-based systems that provide broadband (100Mps+) communications are emerging as the secure and stealthy solution to deliver resilient networking at the tactical edge.

mmWave technology utilises distributed, peer-to-peer, mesh networks rather than a centralised core network which means there is no single point of failure. Not only can 5G mmWave technology link manned or unmanned weapons platforms, command posts, ISR and C2 with the edge, it also meets the necessary IT governance and cybersecurity standards. Importantly, mmWave technology exploits licence-exempt, non-commercial spectrum frequency bands, such as at 57-71 GHz.

Successful trials of gigabit communications links between tactical vehicles

At Blu Wireless, we’ve been trialling flexible and stealthy mmWave mesh networks for some time now with impressive results.

A recent trial of 5G mmWave systems saw this technology interfaced with the networking systems of land vehicles. This set up was then tested in a variety of simulated battlefield scenarios. The technology can provide 360˚ communications coverage via mesh networking to effectively deliver undisrupted gigabit communications links between vehicles.

A series of tests have been conducted at Millbrook where Blu Wireless has a 5G mmWave network. These tests also included mesh networking in a range of environmental conditions, from congested areas with multiple obstacles, to rocky and undulating terrain, to high-speed chases. Even under these difficult conditions, tests showed that the system was able to maintain a reliable, stealthy and secure communications network.

I’m excited to share that we’ll be showcasing these trials at DVD2022 with the help of an immersive Augmented Reality (AR)-enabled experience which will demonstrate communications coverage via mesh networking between tactical vehicles.

If you are attending DVD2022 this September and want to experience next-generation tactical communications, or just have a chat, do get in touch!