The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded a contract to TrellisWare Technologies for the construction and testing of a new tropospheric scatter (troposcatter) radio prototype.

This prototype is expected to address the communications challenges of the US Navy.

The goal of ONR is to use the Beyond Line of Sight (BLoS) troposcatter communications capability to support ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore mobile naval operations rather than satellite communications (SATCOM).

The prototype troposcatter radio of TrellisWare will use new optimised waveforms to maintain reliable and stable convection troposcatter communications, even under difficult and variable propagation conditions.

Under a previous ONR contract with TrellisWare, the waveform was developed and tested successfully over-the-air between San Diego and Los Angeles County last year.

TrellisWare’s troposcatter radio will offer reliable communication over the horizon, and its Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) are greatly reduced compared to conventional convective-dissipation capabilities.

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The combination of stronger waveforms and lower SWaP terminals will be able to better integrate with antenna pointing (acquisition), tracking and stabilisation (PTS) technologies, which will permit mobile troposcatter capability.

TrellisWare will verify the performance of the prototype troposcatter radio in aerial testing and demonstration activities in the second half of next year.

TrellisWare technology development manager Marcus Urie said: “TrellisWare has been working with ONR since 2017 to study the feasibility of mobile naval troposcatter communications.

“Over the last several years, the engineering team has done an excellent job evaluating the additional system complexities that will be required to maintain reliable troposcatter communications during mobile at-sea operations.”

In April this year, ONR awarded $14m in grants to 26 candidates under the 2020 Young Investigator Program (YIP).