ocean floor (Allexxandar/Shutterstock.com)

DARPA dives into undersea networks

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to build an undersea network so that the military can have situational awareness or command and control capabilities across all domains.

The Timely Information for Maritime Engagements program will develop concepts for a heterogeneous underwater network architecture to provide options for undersea operations on the fly. It's part of DARPA's vision for "mosaic warfare" that connects individual warfighting platforms across all domains and turns cost-effective complexity into an advantage.  The networks required for TIMEly will need to support "integrated systems from distributed and dynamically reconfigured assets," DARPA said in an industry day announcement.

The undersea domain, with its communication challenges, limits the range, capacity, latency  and security of transmissions across platforms. TIMEly aims to build architectures that will work within these limitations, focusing on protocols, quality of service and information exchange and deliver "a dynamically reconfigurable, highly responsive 'information' architecture for cross-domain communications."

DARPA has previously experimented with undersea networks. Its Tactical Undersea Network Architecture program aimed to restore radio frequency-based networks via an undersea fiber-optic backbone. TUNA deployed network node buoys that were dropped from aircraft or ships and connected via temporary underwater fiber-optic cables designed to last 30 days in rough seas, providing connectivity until primary methods of communications were restored.

More information on TIMEly is available here.

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