The US Army has awarded a two-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to Hughes Network Systems to support its Blue Force Tracking (BFT) programme.
As part of the agreement, all industry participants working on the third phase of the BFT-3 programme will offer recommendations to help upgrade the architecture of the BFT system.
Under the CRADA, Hughes will present recommendations with a focus on maintaining communications in different disputed operating environments.
Overall, the modernisation efforts will enhance interoperability and strengthen the operational resiliency of the system.
Hughes Defense and Intelligence Systems vice-president and general manager Rick Lober said: “Hughes is excited to be part of this leading-edge team that will define the open architecture of next-generation systems.
“We look forward to providing a unique perspective to the effort as one of the world’s largest commercial suppliers of satellite communications equipment and services.
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“As a case in point, our advanced waveform technology has led to key breakthroughs in overcoming system jamming, which paired with prototypes of a Flexible Modem Interface (FMI) for military terminals makes Hughes a natural fit to support the army’s objectives.”
BFT, which has been in use with the army since 2002, is a next-generation, friendly forces monitoring system.
BFT-3 effort aims to create a ‘simple and intuitive network’ that will minimise the ‘cognitive burden’ on troops.
The US Army is expected to issue a request for proposal in early 2020 and incremental fielding of BFT-3 by 2025.
Lober added: “This contract represents great progress in the military’s efforts to achieve greater interoperability across communications platforms.
“We look forward to working closely with the army in their effort to upgrade the critical system technology that protects our warfighters and allies.”