U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on Thursday awarded L-3 Communications a $16.4 million contract as part of DARPA’s mobile hotspots program.
According to DARPA, this project aims to provide "high-bandwidth communications for troops in remote forward operating locations" lacking access to traditional wired Internet.
If successful, this experimental program will use air, mobile, and fixed assets to create a "gigabit-per-second tactical millimeter-wave backbone network" extending from military commanders all the way down to the lowest-echelon warfighters. The UAV pods will be an integral part of this project.
In Phase 2, L-3 will be expected to deliver a "solution" consisting of radio and router pods that can be mounted aboard Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) manufactured by Textron.
These pods will be used to create UAV-borne mobile hotspots in the vicinity of the UAVs. Completion of Phase 2 is expected to be achieved by March 12, 2015.