Cognitive Radio Provides the Foundation for JTRS

By Dean ~ June 12th, 2012. Filed under: Industry, SDR & SCA.

Aerospace & Defense News has an interesting story describing the Cognitive Radio underpinnings of the JTRS program.

Logo of the JPEO JTRS


As I wrote a few months ago, the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program is evolving quickly, so this might be a good time for a refresher on the foundation technology that supports the system.

Some of the capabilities that cognitive radio and mobile ad-hoc networking bring to the theater of operations include improved security, jamming avoidance, much higher bandwidth and support for both data & voice communications across large distances while functioning in harsh environments that lack fixed infrastructure.

The Aerospace & Defense News story quotes Brig. Gen. Michael Williamson, Joint Program Executive Officer, JTRS:

With more radios vying for increasing scarce spectrum space, there’s a growing need for cognitive radios that use computer intelligence to automatically and invisibly adapt themselves to user needs and band conditions. Cognitive radio is an umbrella term for an array of different technologies that allow radios to achieve various levels of self-configuration, including automatic operating mode selection, optimal power output and dynamic spectrum access for interference management,


Cognitive attributes of spectrum ‘sharing’ and ‘agility’ are key to the future. Cognitive Radios are capable of dynamic spectrum utilization that takes advantage of unused channel occupancy or so-called ‘White spaces’. The challenge is to be able to utilize these channels when they are not occupied and to exit the channel without harm to the channelowner when he turns on. Spectrum sensing is a critical function for future radio systems and JTRS is the platform to deliver capability to the warfighter,

The story also covers WNW and SRW, two of my favorite waveforms, and explains their role in the program.

Rather than my attempting to summarize the whole story, I urge you to just go read it on the original site.

In somewhat tenuously related hardware news, Harris recently announced the RF-7800H-MP High Frequency Tactical Radio (PDF brochure).  My sources tell me that, unlike some other members of the Falcon III family, the RF-7800H-MP does not currently fit in under the JTRS tent.  Of course the waveform guy in me can’t help but wonder whether there might be some waveform porting programs in the future to remedy this situation.

From the company’s press release (PDF):

Falcon III is the next generation of radios supporting the U.S. military’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) requirements, as well as network-centric operations worldwide.

As one would expect, Harris isn’t commenting to silly bloggers about their future plans for the FR-7800H-MP.

Image of the Harris 7800H-MP Tactical Radio

The Harris 7800H-MP Tactical Radio is the Latest Powerful Software Defined Radio
Image Credit: Harris Tactical Communications

Image of two US soldiers using JTRS systems

JTRS Brings SDR Capabilities to the Battlefield
Image Credit: GDC4S

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