Persistent Systems to develop Protected Communications for Manned-Unmanned Teams for U.S. Army

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center has awarded Persistent Systems LLC a $5.4M contract to develop Protected Communications for Manned-Unmanned Teams (MUM-T).

The Army has a vision for a next-generation Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) that can be networked with up to four unmanned Remote Combat Vehicles (RCVs) and their assorted sensor/weapons payloads. The vehicle would also be networked with the broader force and command structure.

In order to make these manned-unmanned teams a reality, they will need a robust, secure, and high-throughput communications network, which is where Persistent Systems comes in. 

“The Army wants RCVs that can be remotely operated in groups over very long distances, in cities, forests, and open terrain,” explains Brian Soles, VP of Business Development for Persistent.

“These manned-unmanned teams will also have to deal with the threat of enemy hacking and jamming.”

The Next Generation Combat Vehicle cross functional team (NGCV-CFT) and the Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) previously selected the MPU5 with its Wave Relay MANET as the MANET network of choice for RCV Phase 1. The U.S. Army has been evaluating the MPU5 for over a year.

Forming a “highly scalable, peer-to-peer network that does not rely on external communications infrastructure to operate or run through a vulnerable central node,” the MPU5 is equipped with several features, including an onboard Android computer that hosts and runs command-and-control and situational awareness software; a 3×3 MIMO configuration with up to 10 watts of transmit power, which provides a usable throughput exceeding 100 Mbps; and a built-In HD Video Encoder/Decoder to distribute multiple real-time HD video feeds to team members on demand.

Under its 14-month contract, Persistent notes that it will work with the C5ISR Center’s Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate to adapt the MPU5 to meet the anti-jam and cyber hardening demands of MUM-T operations.

“The application of the work done under this contract won’t be limited to vehicles,” Soles says.

“The idea is to get these same hardened capabilities to dismounted soldiers, which will greatly enhance our ability to operate against more sophisticated adversaries.”