Raytheon seeks temporary license to test W-band technology in California

U.S. defense contractor Raytheon Missile Systems wants a special temporary authorization (STA) from the FCC so that it can test a new broadband technology and see if it meets both the demands of a U.S. Department of Defense customer and the commercial marketplace.

The company says it has worked on the development of a small, stable antenna that can be used for high-speed point-to-point communications that can reach a distance of up to 10 miles. A range of customers already have expressed interest in the technology, including federal and commercial entities, according to the application.

"In December 2015, a commercial customer conducted licensed experiments with this technology and the tests proved very fruitful," the application states. "All of the participants agreed to make some technical adjustments to improve the performance of the technology and to reconvene to undertake additional demonstrations in January 2016."

Raytheon says it has been working on a new product that uses high-bandwidth solid state technology for the W-band, which includes the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-94 GHz bands, making it possible to deliver compact, secure communications systems with orders of magnitude reductions in size, weight and power. The application seeks to conduct testing in Sunset Ridge, Calif., and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., to explore ways to optimize operations over great distances with high data integrity.

The application explains that reducing the size, weight and power needed by broadband links is essential for working in harsh climates, from aircraft to the ground, or among aircraft. Traditional point-to-point technologies operating at this frequency range use large antennas that are buffeted by wind. The buffeting causes a significant drop in data rates, which leads to inefficient communications. Buffeting is particularly a problem when one or both antennas are in motion. The technology under development offers the potential to address the challenges specific to mobile operations.

Raytheon is requesting the STA be granted for tests to be conducted beginning Jan. 18, 2016, through March 18, 2016.

Last month, a top U.S. Air Force space official slammed Raytheon's handling of a project to provide a new ground control system for GPS. General John Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, called the GPS Operational Control System project a "disaster" due to escalating costs and delays. Raytheon told Reuters that it was still fully committed to delivering the modernized GPS ground controls envisioned and required by the Air Force.

For more:
- see these two documents

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