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The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, through the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, OH, selected Lockheed Martin to develop and demonstrate a prototype network that combines the speed of laser-based communications with the dependability of radio frequency communications to support the information-sharing needs of military commanders. The initial contract has a value of $15 M. The Optical and Radio Frequency Combined Link Experiment (ORCLE) will use a “clever network” — one that adapts to changing environmental conditions and data needs — to optimize the high data throughput rate and dependability of the two forms of transmission. Access to data on the ORCLE network would be comparable to requesting data from an existing database and retrieving it using a high speed, wideband connection. Lessons learned during recent operations point out that current communications networks rapidly become overloaded as great amounts of data are made available. It is crucial for the war fighter to have on-demand access to that data to get the right information at the right time. Lockheed Martin is the ORCLE system integration program prime contractor, leading a team that includes ITT, L3Com, BAE Systems, Adaptive Optics Associates, Accipiter Systems, EMS and Dayton Aerospace. Each team member brings specialized technologies to address the advanced requirements in fielding the network. The contract calls for a range test in approximately 18 months and includes an option for a flight test after 30 months.
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