I recently had the opportunity to attend MILCOM 2015 in Tampa, Fla. The event consisted of various technical presentations, tutorials, and discussions. A large number of companies participated in the exhibition, with exhibitors ranging from defense contractors to components suppliers—and much more in between. Given the circumstances of our world today, it is important to realize the significance of military communications and the technology required to enable it.
The Internet of Things (IoT) was a major theme, and the subject of a number of technical panels. Specifically, the IoT’s impact on the defense industry was a main topic of discussion. Technologies required for IoT deployment as well as various challenges concerning the IoT were focal points of the panels. It is clear that the IoT will have a significant impact in the defense realm. The weight of this impact, as well as the weight of the IoT’s impact in general, is something that will take form as we head into the future.
The exhibition itself was the center of a great deal of activity, as a wide range of products was displayed. Software-defined-radios (SDRs), for instance, were showcased by several companies. Ettus Research, a National Instruments company, was on the floor to demonstrate some of its products. The company’s USRP E310 is a pocket-sized, stand-alone SDR that covers 70 MHz to 6 GHz. Ancortek, a Virginia-based startup, demonstrated the SDR-KIT 2500B, which is a 25-GHz SDR evaluation kit. And Spectranetix—another supplier of SDRs—also participated in the exhibition.
A variety of amplifiers was presented by several exhibitors, such as AR Modular RF. The company’s new AR-20KT model is a portable booster amplifier that operates from 30 to 512 MHz. Ramona Research was promoting its PAUK-20 quad-band power amplifier (PA). This PA can provide high-power outputs in four different frequency bands. And Comtech Xicom Technology showcased the SuperPower Series of traveling-wave-tube-amplifiers (TWTAs), which can provide output power as high as 2 kW.
In addition to the products mentioned, many other products and services were presented at MILCOM. Various devices, components, and systems were prominently displayed. Design software also had a strong presence thanks to companies like Remcom, Computer Simulation Technology, and Altair Engineering.
MILCOM clearly demonstrated some of the innovative technology in the RF/microwave industry. However, the event also served as a grim reminder of the volatility in today’s world. Because of our present-day conditions, the technology that the RF/microwave industry can provide will be especially needed.