The recent approval by the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) to purchase software-defined radio (SDR) technology is the “mother” of all solutions to the desired tactical communication needs of the armed forces.
The indigenous SDR, which needs to be properly maintained in order to exploit its potential, has been developed through the joint efforts of the Weapons Electronics Engineering System (WESEE) / Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and BEL ). In this case, BEL is the production partner of DRDO.
The Indian Navy’s tactical data link will be the immediate beneficiary of this local SDR technology, which is very important as it will help achieve better real-time data transfer rates with reduced network latency.
This local technology will be easily applicable to the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) for improved data, voice and video information transfer speeds. This will allow ground troops carrying portable SDR versions of the Handheld Man to achieve integration with higher echelons to achieve the true capabilities of the C4I. Also, with SDR technology, the possibility of swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operating on the battlefield seems promising.
With each warship as a node generating huge real-time data related to navigation, combat information, etc., the SDR solution was developed by the Indian Navy through the efforts of its first-class R&D organization, WESEE.
What is software defined radio (SDR)?
“Each radio system wirelessly transmits / receives signals in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum to facilitate the transfer of information. This is a very special type of pre-radio system in which the functions of the physical layer are defined as software functionality, ie. software code acts as a circuit board for conventional radio, and software-based filtering algorithms are used to select frequencies, ”explains Milind Kulshreshta, an expert in artificial intelligence and C4I.
According to Kulshreshtha, “The software generates a waveform of the communication signal that is equivalent to a modulated signal, which makes the SDR able to communicate over much of the spectrum while supporting multiple protocols. These software algorithms can be downloaded and adapted throughout the life of the hardware. SDR is a multi-mode, multi-band and multi-function radio that only requires software upgrades for improvements. Traditional hardware radio has limitations on cross-functionality and can only be modified by physical changes. “
Defensive tactical communication operates on several different frequencies such as HF, V / UHF, etc. and each has its own unique protocol type that meets Battlefield requirements. Each unit / node in a tactical communication scheme forms part of a secure interconnected network for communication with each other. SDR also operates in the same frequency spectrum band using multiple protocols. In addition, SDR is compatible with the old military radio systems to improve performance, the expert AI & C4.
Currently, the algorithms for the communication form of SDR have been developed by the Indian defense itself and this makes the SDR system highly secure. In addition, SDR research must be a continuous effort to keep the already deployed SDR sufficiently resistant to jamming or hacking by an adversary with modern technology.