The Future of Waveform Modernization and the Trends Defining Defense Communications

Until 2021, the trends identified in 2020 have remained and evolved to stimulate innovation in the defense industry. These changes, largely due to the ongoing digital transformation caused by the pandemic, have placed renewed emphasis on the role of communication between teams. Throughout 2021, military leaders gathered to discuss how the battlefield is evolving and how to sustain the race when faced with new competitors. As threats to communication systems increase, the military needs to adapt its military communication efforts to allow redundant, secure and up-to-date communication platforms and devices.

Modern combat space talk to industry professionals about how the battlefield has changed over the past year, how the state of communications has changed, and what the industry can do to take advantage of these changes.

Jimmy Henderson has seen the many ways in which the needs of defense communications have developed on both sides of the industry. Adopted in 1999 as a technician for satellite, broadband and telemetry systems in the US Air Force, his experience revolves around the operation and maintenance of many advanced digital communication systems. After his military service, Henderson used his experience to continue serving as a civilian. He is currently Vice President of Sales at Silvus Technologies, where he interacts with designers and end users, while remaining on top of the latest trends in the industry.

Below are some of Henderson’s thoughts on the state of defense communications:

Modern combat space (TMB) Editor: What are some of the biggest challenges facing defense leaders this year in terms of battlefield communications?

Jimmy Henderson: As the United States and its allies shift their focus from the Middle East to a competition from the great powers, the need to work in congested and contested radio spectrum (RF) is emerging as a key issue. Our superiority on the future battlefield depends on our ability for US forces and allies to communicate wirelessly across all domains.

For years, we have enjoyed a decisive advantage in the field of RF, but the advanced electronic warfare (EW) capabilities now unfolding by our close enemies have accelerated the need to develop new radio technologies that can continue in the presence of jamming. and embarrassment.

TMB Editors: How did waveforms evolve to meet some of these challenges?

Henderson: Software defined radio (СПТ) platforms are a key factor in facilitating the rapid development of waveform. Unlike radios built on commercial chipsets, SDRs allow the developer to manipulate the lowest layers (ie, physical layer and control access to the environment) of the waveform.

Working in close partnership with sponsors from the U.S. Department of Defense, vendors can quickly incorporate feedback from field trials to modify and improve the shape of the wave to make it less detectable, harder to intercept, and more resistant to jamming and interference.

Over the last few years, we have included a number of improvements in the waveform for working in congested and contested environments. Because these improvements are in our firmware, many of them can even be applied to previously used equipment by upgrading the firmware, which helps future government investments.

TMB Editors: Fill in the blank. 2021 was the year of ___ for defense.

Henderson: JADC2. To the US Army Convergence of the project and the advanced battle management system of the United States Air Force (ABMS) are both striving to develop this ability and we have seen a lot of progress in these efforts. There is a lot of work being done now and it is planned for the future with joint command and control of all domains.

The editors of TMB: How will the modernization of the waveform in 2022 and beyond progress?

Henderson: The adoption of the DevOps process by the R&D community has allowed non-traditional vendors to work closely with government stakeholders to modify COTS / GOTS equipment to meet the emerging needs of combatants in a drastically reduced time compared to previous methods. of engagement. If allowed to continue, I believe that this cooperation between government and industry will provide American commanders with a decisive information advantage in future conflict.

TMB editors: How will the lessons learned in 2021 be applied to military readiness in 2022?

Henderson: In some cases, innovation in industry outstrips written requirements. DoD-sanctioned events such as Project Convergence, NetModX and ABMS have opened people’s eyes to the realm of the possible. With sustainable waveforms showing enormous potential, the requirements community must now ensure that these capabilities are incorporated into future requirements so that we can ensure that our forces are well equipped for tomorrow’s battle.