DARPA launches MIDAS programme
DARPA has launched the Millimeter-Wave Digital Arrays (MIDAS) programme to improve secure military communications between platforms.
The programme aims to develop element-level digital phased-array technology that will enable next generation Department of Defense millimeter wave systems.
According to DARPA, in order to solve adaptive beamforming issues and ensure wide application of the solutions, MIDAS seeks to create a common digital array tile that will enable multi-beam directional communications. Efforts will focus on reducing the size and power of digital millimeter wave transceivers, enabling phased-array technology for mobile platforms and elevating mobile communications to the less crowded millimeter wave frequencies.
Advances in element-level digital beamforming in phased-array designs is enabling new multi-beam communications schemes - or the use of several beams receiving and transmitting in multiple directions
simultaneously - to help significantly reduce node discovery time and improve network throughput.Timothy Hancock, program manager, DARPA, said: ‘While critical to the next generation of phased-arrays, today’s digital beamforming is limited to lower frequencies, making the resulting arrays too large for use on small mobile platforms.
‘Through MIDAS, we are seeking proposals that combine advances in millimeter wave and digital beamforming technologies to create radios that will deliver secure communications for our military.’
To decrease the size of the arrays, advances in millimeter wave technology will help push the frequency of operation to higher bands, bringing the capabilities of directional antennas to small mobile platforms.MIDAS will focuses on two key technical areas. The first is the development of the silicon chips to form the core transceiver for the array tile. The second is focused on the development of wide-band antennas; transmit/receive components, and the overall integration of the system that will enable the technology to be used across multiple applications, including line-of-sight communications between tactical platforms as well as current and emerging satellite communications.
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