RTX has signed a $6.6-million contract to lead a consortium supporting the production of multi-hop mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) for the US Department of Defense.
MANETs are used in 5G equipment utilized by forward-deployed personnel to retain direct communication without the aid of complex infrastructure.
For the initiative, RTX is developing its Opportunistic eXtemporarY 5G Encrypted Network (OXYGEN), a capability to establish a connection between a minimum of 20 pieces of user equipment while maintaining secured data transmission at 100 megabits per second.
RTX segment Raytheon BBN is facilitating the two-year project in partnership with Curated Networks, Novowi LLC, and Kryptowire LLC.
The work will take place in Virginia, California, and two locations in Massachusetts.
“Our warfighters use existing infrastructure like roads and bridges when they’re forward deployed now,” US Department of Defense FutureG & 5G Office Program Lead Dr. Daniel Massey explained.
“Why shouldn’t we use existing communications infrastructure as well? Access to a 5G MANET allows us to move from single-digit megabit per second individual data sharing, for ground soldiers to 100 times more throughput, which will enable sharing more high-resolution video and imagery.”
‘Piggybacking’ Over Commercial Assets
According to RTX, “piggybacking” sensitive information on commercial network solutions requires additional security and several connectivity resources or mesh networks to multicast data traffic instead of traditional peer-to-peer communication.
“OXYGEN will enhance commercial cellular equipment to ensure a fully trusted and secure tactical MANET capability,” Raytheon BBN Research Engineer Chris Vander Valk stated.
“We’re using techniques like cryptographic scrambling, encryption of control and data traffic and secure memory compartmentalization to achieve this.”