Airborne communications relays and gateways are the goal of a new U.S. Air Force research project.
Inverse Mission Planning of Aerial Communications Technologies, a small business innovation research project, is designed to take advantage of airborne communications. "Having aerial platforms that, merely by virtue of their elevation above the ground communicator, provide 10 times or more [radio frequency] effective range to communications devices used by our ground and special forces warfighters, allows cross-theater/cross-battle space communications and reachback to main Command & Control (C2) elements," notes the SBIR. "Likewise, an airborne gateway/relay can provide extended C2 coverage for strike, rescue, and resupply missions within or entering/exiting the battle space."
IMPACT will examine inverse planning techniques that would use automation to match users with the right communications networks, and to anticipate who might need to use these networks. This might be done through the "assignment of critical factors, or weights, to ground users along with weight optimization schemes for prioritization of transmitter-receiver pairing."