HF tactical communications detailed
Elbit Systems expect technological advances in the high frequency (HF: three megahertz/MHz to 30MHz) tactical radio domain to continue into the future, the company shared in a written statement with MONS, building on recent technological advances.
The firm disclosed that it expects to see further advances in Wideband HF (WBHF) radio, and developments in Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) technology. ALE is a process which enables the transceiver to automatically contact and initiate communications with another HF radio, or HF network and to devise the best path for its communications when such a network is congested, or when the overall HF waveband is saturated.
The statement continued that, until recently, HF tactical radio was primarily confined to handling voice and data traffic, adding that, “transferring video over the HF channel was just a dream.”
Typically HF radios were handling data rates in the region of 9.6 kilobits-per-second (kbps). That said, “advances in digital signal processing and analogue-to-digital conversion technologies provided the capabilities to develop modern WBHF radio that can deliver rates up to 240kbps on a 48 kilohertz [KHz] channel.”
Changes in HF protocols and standards have also assisted the expansion of HF tactical radio capabilities: The US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Military Standard-188-110C protocol allocates up to 24KHz of bandwidth in the US HF spectrum which can be consolidated into a contiguous block. Meanwhile NATO STANAG-4539 (Standardisation Agreement-4539) provides additional HF spectrum for non-US NATO members giving up to 200KHz of bandwidth divisible into 16 channels, each of which is 3KHz in breadth, permitting WBHF communications. Moreover STANAG-4539 enables the 16 channels to hop across the available 200KHz enhancing communications security.
Elbit Systems’ statement continued that the firm’s HF-8000 HF radio family, which includes MANPACK, vehicular, fixed base-station and shipboard transceivers can deliver, “uninterrupted data, highly reliable and secure voice and data communications,” providing data rates in the region of 240kbps, and transmission power of between 20 and 500 Watts.