Government software standards such as the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) have been proposed and are evolving to facilitate reuse and portability of both software waveforms and hardware. To date these steps have shown limited success in maximizing reuse and reducing costs for new applications. As a result, PM WIN-T (U.S. Army Project Manager War-fighter Information Network-Tactical) has been defining a new modular Open Systems Architecture (OSA) that is designed to address these issues using a Government Reference Architecture (GRA) that provides for both hardware and software modularity and portability. The result will be a re-configurable satellite communications terminal that can provide soldiers with high-capacity, multiband, multi-mode connectivity.
The catch is that today’s conventional, analog RF transceiver implementations have too many performance limitations that make multi-band, reconfigurable satellite terminals complex and costly. The answer to this challenge may reside in an all-digital transceiver—one that can provide a highly linear all-digital RF signal distribution system and can provide multi-band, -frequency and -channel operation within a single integrated product.
All-digital RF technology brings revolutionary changes in the design and implementation of RF microwave electronics. For the first time, it becomes practical to implement high frequency RF functions in the digital domain, all accomplished with extreme low-noise performance and spectral purities with ultra-fast speeds otherwise unattainable with competing semiconductor technologies, analog or digital. These new all-digital RF “tools” lead directly to modular system designs that support multi-band and multi-channel operation from a single RF platform with much smaller antennas, increased capacities and flexibility. They are forging the path to enabling next-generation multiple band, multiple channel MILSATCOM systems that can achieve GRA modular OSA compliance simultaneously at frequencies covering the C, X, Ku, Ka and EHF bands.