High-frequency (HF) radio waves are capable of extremely long-distance communications links. Rockwell Collins recently showed just how far for wideband, high-data-rate communications, with an HF link of 5,000 miles that successfully transferred data files as large as 1 MB. This form of ground-based communications provides an effective long-distance alternative to satellite communications (satcom) systems that might be blocked or jammed by an adversary.
Rockwell Collins wideband, high-frequency (WBHF) communications technology was demonstrated while working under contract to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate (contract FA8750-16-C-0269), and as part of Air Combat Command’s attempts to establish reliable long-distance communications under circumstances where satcom systems may not be available. The next-generation WBHF communications network was evaluated over the course of 30 days of testing, transferring a wide range of data files. This advanced system showed numerous performance benefits compared to legacy HF communications systems, as well as standard satellite systems.
“Communications technology that can reliably transfer data files quickly over massive distance gives our military operations a great advantage when executing missions in a denied environment,” said Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager, Communication, Navigation & Electronic Warfare Systems for Rockwell Collins. “We are pleased with the outcome of this demonstration and look forward to seeing the system provide our forces with a cost effective option for resilient over-the-horizon communications.”
The evaluation program builds on existing HF system infrastructure to develop a next-generation solution. The program will continue to explore possible network configurations and waveforms for optimum performance at HF.