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IARPA, BAE Systems developing security software for ‘smart radio' concept

US Marines with 1st Tank Battalion perform radio checks on a Harris 117 radio in preparation of exercises aboard USS Makin Island . (US Marine Corps)

US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), in conjunction with BAE Systems, is developing prototype security software that will identify and mitigate potential threats to secure radio frequency (RF) transmissions in degraded or denied spectrum environments.

The security software development effort is being conducted under IARPA's Securing Compartmented Information with Smart Radio Systems (SCISRS). BAE Systems' software research, development, and prototype work for the SCISRS programme is being spearheaded by the company's FAST Labs advanced research directorate.

“The RF domain has been seeing a rapid increase in the scale complexity and ambiguity in the electromagnetic spectrum,” Scott Kuzdeba, a chief scientist at BAE Systems' FAST Labs and a senior member of its SCISRS development team, told Janes .

In the case of the RF spectrum, and specifically the use of software-defined radios (SDRs) across that spectrum, “it is extremely easy now to implement waveforms and transmit a lot of [signal] complexity. The combination of those two just creates a lot of ambiguity in the spectrum if you're trying to monitor and understand what's going on” in a given environment, according to Kuzdeba.

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