Development and Evaluation of a Joint Tactical RadioSystem Waveform for
Asset Tracking and Data Relay Applications, 16-9407

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Principal Investigator
Melissa Wallis

Inclusive Dates:  07/01/03 – 01/01/05

Background - The Department of Defense is migrating to a software-defined radio (SDR) approach to support the next generation of mobile communications by implementing the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS). A major JTRS tenet is the easy insertion of advanced technology. JTRS supports the acquisition and fielding of SDRs that provide interoperable communications through an internationally endorsed open Software Communications Architecture (SCA). JTRS will replace older hardware-intensive radios with SDRs, in which software applications provide waveform generation and processing to include encryption, filtering, and other communication functions. Abstraction of the software from the hardware allows software modules to be upgraded and new capabilities to be added with minimal impact to hardware. The JTRS software communications architecture and approach to waveform applications enable porting of waveforms across radio platforms. JTRS is a collaboration of software and hardware components that provide maximum flexibility. JTRS allows the SDR to be encrypted, multiband, multimode, multichannel, and remotely programmable. This is accomplished by using a distributed environment approach. Hardware that requires specific software is incorporated on a host platform acting as a server. Remote software modules that are used to generate waveforms, dictate band, mode, and encryption are allowed access to the server, at which time the server creates the functional objects as needed.

Approach - At the heart of the technical approach is the development of a software radio testbed system. The testbed hardware suite was designed and integrated using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. A "Hello World" waveform was implemented originally and was migrated toward the SILO (Signal Intercept from Low Orbit) waveform. The software design is based on an object-oriented approach using C++, Unified Modeling Language (UML), eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). Finally, the waveform implementation was tested on the software-radio test bed to assure the system reliably meets performance specifications.

Accomplishments - With the objective of obtaining the basic tools and technical expertise needed to create a software-defined waveform, this project has integrated, developed, and implemented: 1) a test-bed acting as a Core Framework platform, 2) a development environment for building software-defined waveforms, 3) a server capable of instigating an Objective Request Broker for distributed systems, and 4) four Software Communication Architecture (SCA) compliant software-defined waveforms. The SILO beacon waveform software may now be designed and implemented using the SCA as a set of rules that constrain the system design.

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