by Staff Writers
Orlando FL (SPX) Jul 26, 2011
The U.S. Air Force has approved Northrop Grumman's Theater Deployable Communications (TDC) Wireless Distribution Module (WDM) for production.
TDC WDM provides a line-of-sight extension of a local area network and a radio-frequency link extension of local Internet Protocol-based traffic to rapidly distribute network capability to tactical warfighters in remote areas.
A total of 140 WDM suites are entering production for the Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. The approval to start production follows environmental and operational testing.
The operational test demonstrated the WDM in both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint modes of operation at distances and rates not previously achieved.
"The successful completion of first article testing brings the next-generation of wireless networking one step closer to the warfighter," said Claude Hashem, vice president and general manager of the company's Network Communications Systems business at Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector.
"WDM extends expeditionary communications and information to remote users over greater distances, with more bandwidth, and in a smaller and lighter package, enabling the Air Force to be more effective in achieving its mission."
WDM is a new component of the Air Force's TDC, a ground-to-ground communications infrastructure that transmits and receives voice, data and video communications securely, to or from wireless, satellite or hard-wired sources.
It is designed to communicate information rapidly and securely to achieve interoperability between Air Force, joint and coalition elements throughout the theater and "reach-back" command and control centers via Defense Information Systems Network core services, Defense Switched Network, Non-secure Internet Protocol Network and Secure Internet Protocol Network.
The TDC system is mobile and modular. The equipment is packaged in kits and modules that are installed, transported and operated from transit cases and can be tailored to meet specific mission needs.
WDM is the next evolution of wireless IP networking, consisting of a single radio that operates in both the commercial and NATO frequency bands. A single radio reduces lifecycle and training costs and decreases the logistics footprint.
The WDM system is undergoing Information Assurance certification, and the radio is a FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-2 device providing an AES-256 encrypted radio frequency link.
WDM uses dynamic data-rate selection and automated frequency selection across multiple channels to overcome jamming and high-noise environments. The system is designed to be deployed by a two-person team.
In addition to WDM, Northrop Grumman has designed and delivered several other TDC systems since 2004, including the Initial Communications Element, Network Control Center-Deployed, and Crypto Module Refresh. The Radio over IP Gateway Module is currently under development and scheduled for fielding later this year.
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