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DARPA Unveils Program to Enhance High-Frequency Radio Communications Capabilities

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a new program to enhance the U.S. military’s high-frequency radio capabilities necessary to achieve multi-domain operations.

The Ouija program aims to gain precise insights into HF radio wave propagation in the ionosphere by using sensors on low-orbiting satellites to gather in-space measurements of electron density, DARPA said Friday.

“Ouija will augment ground-based measurements with in-situ measurements from space, in very low-Earth orbit, to develop and validate accurate, near real-time HF propagation predictions,” said Jeff Rogers, Ouija program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office.

DARPA has issued a solicitation for the first of the two technical areas of the Ouija program that will focus on developing, launching and operating small satellites carrying scientific instrumentation.

The Ouija scientific payload will use or adapt commercial-off-the-shelf components to measure electron density from space, the agency said.

DARPA plans to issue a separate solicitation for the second technical area that will develop assimilative models designed to collect in-situ measurements of electron density from a VLEO satellite and embed that data into HF propagation code to validate with data measured on-orbit.