BAE Systems is to develop mechanisms for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that protect emerging wideband receivers from interference, thereby enabling their use in contested and congested environments, the company announced on 7 April.

The agency has awarded the company two contracts, totalling $5 million (€4.2 million) under the Wideband Adaptive RF Protection (WARP) programme, designed to develop wideband adaptive filtering and signal cancellation architectures to safeguard emerging wideband receivers against both external and self-interference. Within DoD, RF systems must operate within an increasingly crowded electromagnetic spectrum and contend with mission-compromising interference from friendly and hostile sources.

The ability to control signal strength across the electromagnetic spectrum is critical to the robust operation of wideband RF electronics,” said Chris Rappa, product line director at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs R&D organization. “WARP signal filters and cancellers will sense and adapt to the electromagnetic environment through the intelligent control of adaptive hardware.”

The technical areas of the programme focus on enhancing EW technology to improve adaptive control of electromagnetic spectrum – enabling allied forces to freely operate while denying that advantage to adversaries. Specifically, Technical Area 1 is focused on mitigating external interference, with Technical Area 2 concentrating on mitigating self-interference from co-located transmitters to enable same-frequency simultaneous transmit and receive, also known as STAR.

The WARP awards add to BAE Systems’ advanced defence electronics and EW R&D portfolio, and are based on many years of investment on multiple programmes, including T-MUSIC, CONverged Collaborative Elements for RF Task Operations (CONCERTO) and Radio Frequency Field Programmable Gate Arrays (RF-FPGA).

The DARPA awards will enable the company to exploit a strong legacy of EW R&D to help protect emerging wideband airborne receivers. (Image: BAE Systems)

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