Enerdyne Provides Encrypted Digital Data Link Upgrade for ROVER Receivers
Enerdyne Technologies has announced the successful demonstration of its DVA (Digital Video over Analog links) technology interoperating with a ROVER video receiver.
The DVA allows low-cost conversion of the video link between an aircraft or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) transmitter and a ROVER receiver to a digital link encrypted with AES-256.
With an installed base of nearly 8,000 units, the ROVER is used in a variety of combat applications to receive analog FM video transmitted from many Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) platforms such as Predator, Shadow, and Hunter UAVs.
But these analog signals are easily intercepted by enemy combatants using simple, readily available receivers, potentially compromising missions and endangering U.S. troops. Enerdyne’s DVA technology can prevent such eavesdropping by upgrading a ROVER analog link in L-, S- or C-band to a secure digital data link encrypted with AES-256.
Enerdyne is repackaging its DVA receiver to provide an appliqué unit that can be attached to a ROVER in the field without the use of tools. Installation will take less than 60 seconds. The appliqué unit is scheduled to be available in four months. The Enerdyne DVA unit for the aircraft has been in production since June 2008.
“The DVA appliqué provides a major product lifetime enhancement for an installed base of ROVERIII and ROVER4 units that represents a $400 million investment by the U.S. government, and it does this at a cost that is a small fraction of that value,” said Steve Gardner, Enerdyne GM.
“Other approaches under consideration for encrypting these links will require scrapping and replacing these valuable assets at much higher cost and on a much longer schedule.”
The EnerLinksII DVA system was designed to convert the analog radio frequency (RF) equipment of a UAS to digital transmission without changing the RF equipment or antennas in the air or ground equipment. It accomplishes the conversion by inserting a small, integrated digital processing module in the signal path between the aircraft sensor and the FM transmitter.
By attaching a DVA digital baseband processor to the output of the analog FM receiver at a UAS ground station (such as a ROVER), the Enerdyne digital module recovers video and metadata transmitted from the aircraft. The DVA receive unit outputs both NTSC video and an Ethernet stream with H.264 compressed video and KLV metadata elementary streams embedded in an MPEG2 transport stream. A UAS data link converted by the DVA will also achieve up to four times the range and use one quarter of the bandwidth of the analog link.
The DVA is based on proven EnerLinks technology deployed in hundreds of manned and unmanned aerial systems. Outside of classified applications, EnerLinks systems are flown on upgraded Sentry HPTM and NeptuneTM UAS. The EnerLinksII DVA is also designed into Insitu’s Scan EagleTM and IntegratorTM UASs, each with planned production in 2009.
“Almost every operational unmanned aerial system used by the DoD has an unsecured analog air-to-ground link based on simple FM transmitters and receivers,” added Gardner. “The DoD can extend the utility of all this equipment with a low-cost upgrade to a high performance, encrypted DVA system.”
Because the DVA system integration requires no change to analog RF equipment, UAS aircraft and ground stations can be upgraded with secure digital links in forward locations in a few hours using maintenance technicians and simple upgrade kits, minimizing down time and integration costs. EnerLinksII DVA is in full production with normal availability within 60-90 days. For product details visit catalog products at www.enerdyne.com
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