Military Embedded Systems

DARPA spectrum sharing solicitation for radar and communications announced


August 20, 2015

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

ARLINGTON, Virginia. Officials at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are soliciting innovative research proposals in the area of spectrum sharing between radar and communications systems. This solicitation follows on previous work carried out in Phase 1 of the Shared Spectrum Access for Radar and Communications (SSPARC) program.

The proposal due date is September 10, 2015.

Proposed research should focus on investigate innovative approaches that "enable revolutionary advances in science, devices, or systems," according to DARPA. Research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice is specifically excluded from this solicitation.

This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) solicits work on co-designed radar and communication systems. Multiple awards are expected and the anticipated duration of projects awarded under this BAA is 12 months.

SSPARC is looking to improve radar and communications joint operational capabilities via spectrum sharing. Spectrum congestion is a growing problem and increasingly restricts operational capabilities due to the increasing deployment and bandwidth of wireless communications, the use of net-centric and
unmanned systems, and the need for increased flexibility in radar and communications spectrum
to improve performance and to overcome sophisticated countermeasures, according to DARPA-BAA-15-42, SSPARC Codesign Phase 2. To solve these challenges SSPARC "seeks to support two types of spectrum sharing:

- Spectrum sharing between military radars and military communications systems
(“military/military sharing”) increases both capabilities simultaneously when operating in
congested and contested spectral environments.

- Spectrum sharing between military radars and commercial communications systems
(“military/commercial sharing”) preserves radar capability while meeting national and
international needs for increased commercial communications spectrum, without
incurring the high cost of relocating radars to new frequency bands.

"Projects under Phase 1 of SSPARC studied technologies that can be used in future co-designed
systems, investigated fundamental limits for communications and radar performance for these
systems, and carried out design studies on several systems concepts," according to DARPA. The agency says documentation on these projects will be made available via "request to aid in preparing high-quality proposals."

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