The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded BAE Systems a $14-million contract to support signal processing and computation development for the US Department of Defense.
The Massive Cross Correlation (MAX) program seeks a next-generation signal processing architecture that can deploy efficiently at high dynamic range and without decreasing bandwidth.
Correlation is comparing and computing the difference between new data and a reference to enable communications, sensing, and imaging capabilities.
Today’s digital correlators are large and power-hungry systems the size of a briefcase.
Supporting Mission-Critical Technologies
Under the agreement, BAE will deliver a more power-efficient analog correlator with range and bandwidth according to standards set by DARPA.
The solution will aid new, critical technologies used by the US military, including automatic target recognition, synthetic aperture radar image classification and formation, passive coherent location, and jam-resistant communications in small form factor platforms.
As opposed to the traditional correlators, BAE will provide DARPA with an analog correlator the size of a hockey puck.
Work for the contract will be facilitated by BAE’s defense research and development segment FAST Labs. The University of Minnesota will serve as a subcontractor.
“Smaller and more efficient systems improve size, weight, power, and costs to allow for full-spectrum signal processing closer to the edge, or onto platforms operating in denied airspace,” FAST Labs Technology Development Director Bryan Choi explained.
“This disruptive analog correlator technology can result in enhanced decision making, allow mission-critical technology to be deployed on smaller platforms, and create a new category of systems.”