Perspecta Labs, the applied research arm of government contractor Perspecta, has won a three-year, $6.2 million contract to develop a spectrum access manager to be used at the U.S. Department of Defense’s test ranges.
Perspecta Labs will develop a spectrum access manager that “enables DoD test ranges to better understand and characterize their RF spectrum environment, quantify the performance of test systems based on a given mission profile, and improve efficiency in the scheduling and allocation of RF spectrum,” according to a company release.
“DOD test ranges face a significant spectrum shortfall as there is an increasing demand to support the testing of complex emerging systems, but less dedicated spectrum available,” said Petros Mouchtaris, Ph.D., president of Perspecta Labs, in a statement. Perspecta Labs, he continued, will “design, develop, integrate and demonstrate a spectrum access management and planning tool that delivers revolutionary advances in the characterization and management of RF spectrum and the planning and scheduling of test events.”
Perspecta Labs said that the spectrum access manager will enable the DoD test ranges to “efficiently deconflict spectrum assignments for testing, provide actionable information regarding telemetry link performance for a given flight path, implement automated sharing techniques to efficiently support required operations, and provide precise visualization of spectrum assignments and telemetry link performance.”
The $6.2 million contract is part of a larger, five-year transaction agreement between DoD and the National Spectrum Consortium worth up to $2.5 billion. That vehicle, the Spectrum Forward Other Transaction Agreement (OTA), is aimed at making it simpler for DoD to work with the approximately 400 U.S. tech and industrial companies who are part of the NSC, which can respond to DoD requests for rapid prototypes and technology development centered around the use of spectrum. DoD has already issued a number of such requests, of which one was focused on spectrum-sharing capabilities. The Defense Department last October awarded $600 million in contracts related to 5G testing and development at five locations, with AT&T, Nokia, Federated Wireless and Ericsson among the recipients.
The specific areas of focus for the Spectrum Forward OTA include 5G; cognitive spectrum sharing; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; narrow-band IoT; autonomous navigation, next generation radio access networks and machine learning, among others.
DoD’s interest in 5G has also extended to the possibility of private 5G networks and the use of dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS); in 2019, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s three-year Spectrum Collaboration Challenge, which explored the efficacy of using artificial intelligence-powered software-defined radios to enable ad hoc dynamic spectrum sharing, culminated in a final event held at Mobile World Congress in Los Angeles.