DARPA's networks of the sea enter next stage: DARPA's Tactical Undersea Network Architecture (TUNA) program recently completed its initial phase, successfully developing concepts and technologies aimed at restoring connectivity for U.S. forces when traditional tactical networks are knocked offline or otherwise unavailable. The program now enters the next phase, which calls for the demonstration of a prototype of the system at sea.
TUNA seeks to develop and demonstrate novel, optical-fiber-based technology options and designs to temporarily restore radio frequency (RF) tactical data networks in a contested environment via an undersea optical fiber backbone. The concept involves deploying RF network node buoys-dropped from aircraft or ships, for example-that would be connected via thin underwater fiber-optic cables.
The very-small-diameter fiber-optic cables being developed are designed to last 30 days in the rough ocean environment-long enough to provide essential connectivity until primary methods of communications are restored.
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