Harris showcases Highband Networking Radio
Harris Corporation's Highband Networking Radio created the mobile, wideband communications network infrastructure for various mission scenarios at the Empire Challenge 2011 , which showcases emerging intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) technologies that support warfighters at the tactical edge. The annual multinational interoperability demonstration, held at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, was run by the US Joint Forces Command.
The enhanced Harris Highband Networking Radio (HNRe2) combines directive-beam technology with mobile, ad hoc mesh networking capabilities and a reduced size, weight and power antenna optimized for airborne platforms.
During the exercise, the HNRe2 enabled critical communications - including transmission of ISR data - from ground and airborne assets to the tactical edge and to individual participants using smartphones.
Five HNRe2 terrestrial nodes were used to create the self-forming, self-healing mesh ground network. One was deployed at each of two R3G biometric network cells; one at a ground site that served as the fiber entry point to the Intelligence Systems Integration Laboratory at Ft. Huachuca; another at the top of a hill as a backup relay point; and the fifth, a mobile node, was installed on the roof of an SUV.
The airborne network consisted of an HNRe2 airborne payload package deployed on the Northrop Grumman Firebird, an intelligence-gathering aircraft that can be flown by a pilot or operated as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). When airborne, the HNRe2 network automatically connected the two R3G cells on the ground, demonstrating the HNRe2's capability to act as a relay link and simulating separation of up to 150 km between the R3G sites.
In the airborne application, the HNRe2 was used to pull sensor data and streaming video from the aircraft to the mobile node and then distribute the data to a wireless access point, from which it was disseminated to dismount smartphone devices. In addition, the HNRe2 network was used to remotely control the Firebird aircraft and its ISR payload devices. Weighing just 62 pounds, the HNRe2 payload was installed or changed from another payload on the Firebird airframe in just 30 minutes. HNRe2 network burst rate capacity between nodes can vary from 6 Mbps to 54 Mbps.
"The HNRe2 terrestrial and airborne components formed a single, robust, high-bandwidth network that was able to meet all the demands of the mission," said Sheldon Fox, group president, Harris Government Communications Systems. "Harris was specifically asked to provide and demonstrate this capability during EC 2011 as a result of earlier integration efforts with the R3G system. Participating in this event is key to our understanding of how the HNRe2 can best meet the needs of the warfighter, as well as the Army's vision for how it can apply this technology for maximum benefit in a variety of mission scenarios."
The HNRe2 provides an IP-based network, with links capable of throughput rates up to 30 Mbps, for VoIP, video, and C4I services. The radio works equally well in fully mobile or fixed applications. Using a directive beam antenna and the Highband Networking Waveform (HNW), the radio can automatically create the entire network using a single frequency. The HNRe2 system permits simultaneous use of the same frequency between node pairs that are not in each other's RF path.
Applications of the HNR extend to numerous scenarios, including terrestrial tactical communications augmented by air-to-ground and air-to-air nodes, as well as air-and-missile defense missions. The waveform and radio also can be used to extend the battlespace network into the maritime force contingent, connecting expeditionary forces with near-shore support and blue-water platforms.
More from Digital Battlespace
US Marine Corps enhances tactical comms with L3Harris radio contracts
The US Marine Corps is acquiring further L3Harris Falcon IV tactical radios under two new contracts.
Northrop Grumman delivers key elements for Poland's new air defence system
Northrop Grumman has begun delivering Integrated Battle Command System relay units under Poland's Wisla medium-range air defence programme.
SOF Week 2023: How Collaborative Autonomy can revolutionise multi-domain missions
USSOCOM is betting on meshed networking technology to enable a single operator to control multiple swarming uncrewed systems across air, land and sea.