Raytheon is to deliver new troposcatter communications system to the US Army under a 10-year contract worth up to $663 million (€594 million), to ensure troops have access to secure voice and data communications in contested environments. The first units are due to be delivered before the end of this year.
"Soldiers on the front lines can't afford dropped calls [….] Our solution, a secure, reliable and wireless troposcatter system, allows troops to communicate in areas that would otherwise be dead zones. Importantly, it also gives the military a way to communicate in satellite-denied environments," explained resident of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS), Dave Wajsgras.
Troposcatter technology uses the Earth's atmosphere as a reflector for radio signals, which are aimed just above the horizon in the direction of a receiver station. As they pass through the troposphere, some of the energy is scattered back toward the Earth, allowing the receiver station to pick up the signal. Essentially, it creates a secure communications network without the need for cellular towers or satellites.
In addition to battlefield use, troposcatter systems are ideal for crisis response. One of the key challenges first responders face is a lack of reliable communications after a natural disaster. By deploying a troposcatter system, responders can quickly establish networks even where no available power exists. The systems are easily transportable and can be set up in less than 30 minutes.
"Think about any natural disaster over the last several years; one of the biggest problems is a lack of reliable communications [….] A troposcatter system easily can be deployed anywhere in the world and can transfer data at extremely high rates – the equivalent to streaming 10 high-definition videos simultaneously at a range of more than 115 miles," observed Raytheon IIS Vice President, Todd Probert.