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Digital Battlespace

Let there be Li-Fi, says US Army

26th April 2021 - 15:24 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Kitefin Li-Fi system. (Photo: pureLiFi)

US Army Europe and Africa embarks on the first large-scale deployment of Li-Fi communication technology.

The US Army is adopting Li-Fi optical wireless communication technology that uses the visible light, ultraviolet, and IR spectra to transmit data.

UK-based pureLiFi will provide its Kitefin system to the US Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) in a $4.2 million deal, in what the company described as ‘the world’s first large-scale deployment’ of the technology.

USAREUR-AF ‘is fielding the capability across its theatres of operations’, pureLiFi added.

By removing the need to use radio frequencies (RF), which can be detected and targeted kinetically and electronically, Li-Fi should increase the reliability and security of wireless communications as it emits a negligible electromagnetic signature.

In a 2019 trial, the US Army tested Li-Fi in a tactical operations centre. ‘The trial demonstrated that LiFi enabled increased mobility, improving the strategic and tactical readiness by allowing users to quickly deploy and communicate,’ pureLiFi claimed.

USAREUR-AF Chief Technology Officer Andrew Foreman said: ‘Leadership within the Department of Defense are at a major transitional crossroads for communications and mission command systems and must make a critical decision. Start deploying LiFi and FSO [free-space optics] and explore other optical wireless communications technologies or continue to subject the warfighter to increased emission by continuing to field highly detectable RF systems to the tactical edge, thus putting soldiers and systems in dire straits.’

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