General Dynamics has shown that by using elevated antenna pairs to overcome the curvature of the earth, long line-of-sight communication ranges can be achieved.
During the US Marine Corps-sponsored Ship-to-Shore Maneuver, Exploration and Experimentation (S2ME2) event held at Camp Pendleton, California, a General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) engineering team successfully streamed video 62 miles (99.77 km) between two tactical antennas.
Dubbed 'Long Shot', the capability doubles the distance of existing legacy beyond-line-of-sight communications while simultaneously providing increased bandwidth for streaming video, GDMS said in a statement.
"This allows naval task forces to position sea bases over the horizon, thus limiting line of sight targeting options of potential adversaries during a conflict. Additionally, it supports naval task force communications in a satellite denied or degraded environment," the company said.
A GDMS 4G Tactical Backbone base station radio antenna was installed on San Clemente Island at approximately 1,800 ft (548.64 m) above sea level. The remote station radio on Red Beach, Camp Pendleton was located at approximately 150 ft (45.72 m) above sea level, Mike Thorlin, business development manager, Tactical Broadband Solutions, GDMS, told Jane's.
The antenna mounted on a mobile tower on San Clemente Island represented an aerostat deployment from a ship at sea or within a sea base, according to GDMS.
The S2ME2 exercise took place in mid-April.
"The key achievement is that we have shown that a 4G-based network can be deployed to provide long range, high-bandwidth capabilities to multiple remote nodes," he said. "Previously, the ranges and bandwidths were only achievable through point-to-point microwave connections using either low-gain antennas with exceptionally high power output level or very high-gain antennas requiring precision pointing."
The GDMS 4G Tactical Backbone takes 4G cellular communications technology, aimed at high-availability public safety and private networks and re-bands it to defence allocated spectrum - C-band, 4.4-5.5 GHz - Thorlin said.
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