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Anti-Jam Technology, the First Step: A Winning SATCOM Solution

Anti-Jam Technology, the First Step: A Winning SATCOM Solution
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by Karl Fuchs, Senior Vice President of Technology, iDirectGov

Tried and proven SATCOM technologies support the government, including the United States Department of Defense (U.S. DoD), in mission-critical undertakings with secure, flexible, high-performance SATCOM anytime and anywhere. 

These field-proven advanced technologies incorporate a number of defense- focused features including transmission security, FIPS 140-3, encryption, Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) and others. The secure technologies and military standards are powerful enhancements that protect critical communications. 

In contested environments, whether the interference is red on blue or blue on blue, support anti-jam solutions are rapidly becoming a mandate for the U.S. DoD. A number of technologies exist to mitigate these jam threats. 

As a first step to addressing these nearly ubiquitous jam threats, a signal excision anti-jam solution holds the most promise. Signal excision anti-jam differs from other methods, primarily spread-spectrum anti-jam technologies, in that it does not require any additional bandwidth nor does it impact data throughput. 

There are a number of signal excision methodologies which exist including active analog filters, DSP technologies such as Successive Interference Cancellation (SIC) and Communication Signal Interference Removal (CSIR). 

During my research into anti-jam technologies, I investigated the various types of signal excision methodologies as well as spread-spectrum technologies. I was first introduced to CSIR technology at the SATELLITE 2018 tradeshow. CSIR technology proved to be very mature and had a number of impressive and useful features that represent great promise for use in contested environments by defense and government. 

I was impressed with the wide range of interferer types CSIR technology could mitigate. For an FPGA implementation of such a small and compact size, CSIR is able to effectively mitigate carrier waves (CW), modulated carriers, combs, hopping frequencies and sweeping tones. In addition, CSIR required very little power difference between the signal of interest and the interfering carrier. This is in contrast to other DSP signal excisors such as SIC. Furthermore, the compact FPGA footprint allows this technology to be implemented in existing government communication infrastructure, leading to a greatly enhanced capability without requiring a hardware upgrade. This technology is also applicable to GPS receivers and 5G communication networks. 

While CSIR signal excision is an excellent first step toward providing a robust anti-jam solution for the U.S. DoD, it will not mitigate all known jam threats. This leads us to the need for a second phase, more brute force, anti-jam solution. This second phase needs to be a spread-spectrum solution. There are two choices when it comes to spread-spectrum anti-jam: the first is fast frequency hop spread-spectrum which is widely accepted and deployed in the U.S. DoD; the alternative is direct sequence spread-spectrum (DSSS).

There are a number of reasons why to choose one technology over the other; however, our testing with DSSS coupled with CSIR signal excision demonstrates coding gains far in excess of those of either technology which run separately. The advent of these exciting new technologies is enabling industries to provide the much-needed signal protection in a compact, cost-effective communication platform.                              

About the Author

Karl Fuchs is the Senior Vice President of Technology at iDirect Government  (iDirectGov). Fuchs leads iDirectGov’s team of federal systems engineers and serves as chief architect for new product integration. Fuchs has more than 20 years of experience in technology and the federal government.

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