Arlington, VA — A team consisting of USC/ISI, C-3 Comm Systems LLC., and New York University has been awarded a major research grant for a three-year research and prototyping project, Cooperative Multicast and Broadcast At Tactical Edge (COMBAT).

Epitomized by recent operations involving US Marine Corps and Navy, modern warfare is conducted by small units at tactical edges. The 2012 strategic guidance for Department of Defense articulates that one of the primary missions of the U.S. Armed forces is to project power despite anti­access/area denial (A2AD) challenges, including implementing the Joint Operational Access Concept, which suggests “smaller units and platforms that are rapidly deployable yet lethal.” For warfighters in small units at tactical edges, efficiently sharing real­time situational awareness information is critical to their mission success. To this end, DoD has invested in innovative network paradigms, such as the DARPA content­-based mobile edge network (CBMEN) program. The experience from these efforts has shown that multicast and broadcast transport modes that leverage the innate broadcasting nature of the wireless medium are instrumental to dramatically improve the situational awareness at tactical edges .

The key challenge in wireless multicast/broadcast transport is that, due to path loss, shadowing or interference, the link quality at some receivers are much worse than others. In order to guarantee the successful delivery of packets to all receivers in the link layer, existing systems always by default employ the base rate (the lowest rate) by among all available modulation and coding schemes (MCS) to guarantee data delivery. Tactical radios have long transmission ranges. In many operational scenarios, tactical edge networks are all­-connected single-hop networks. Using the base rate significantly limits the capacity of multicast and broadcast, which in turn restricts situational awareness information sharing in tactical edge networks.

The ONR award enables the COMBAT team to address the above problem by developing collaborative radios that can rapidly adapt to channel variations while being compatible with the current IP multicast framework. We will design and prototype the proposed COMBAT radio system and carry out over­-the-­air experiments and measurements to validate the design for potential transitions.

As the leading intellectual contributor, C-3 will lead all issues on the system-level design aspect, radio physical layer IP implementation on FPGA, RFIC software control and over-the-air testing. USC/ISI is the prime on this award and will lead the radio implementation on embedded multi-processor FPGA platforms. NYU/Wireless will design and develop the medium access protocols.

URL for NYU/Wireless: