Modular Open Radio Frequency Architecture Boot Camp

Vita Technologies

Authored by: Jerry Gipper, Vita Technologies.

Designers creating the next generation of embedded defense systems face several challenges getting their solutions off the ground. The newly launched Modular Open Radio Frequency Architecture (MORA) aims to enable the development of true open standards-based radio frequency and microwave modules and small form factor subsystem designs to reduce costs, foster commonality, and enable new communications capabilities.

Electronics are a key part of many defense platforms and are becoming more important as the content percentage is growing. However, the purchasing influence of defense programs has become a smaller percentage of the overall worldwide electronics industry. Complicating the issue is the demand to get new solutions to deployment in much shorter time frames to take advantage of the latest technology. This increase in reliance on electronics, reduction in purchasing power, and rapid shortening of time to deployment have created a challenging dynamic for system architects responsible for the design of next-generation defense platforms.

Over the years, many initiatives have emerged to drive standards for open, flexible platforms, with the most recent example being the U.S. Army’s VICTORY program. Recently, the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC) launched a new initiative, the Modular Open Radio Frequency Architecture (MORA), which will enable the development of true open standards-based RF and microwave modules and small form factor subsystem designs that address the size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP) constraints of today’s ground vehicles. MORA is intended to leverage the work done under the VICTORY initiative by adding consideration for RF modules and subsystems.

About the MORA architecture

Current command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and electronic warfare (EW) systems use single-purpose hardware and software that aren’t shared beyond their defined functions and compete for limited resources on the platform. MORA decomposes radio systems into high-level components that enable sharing of hardware such as amplifiers and antennas. Low power distribution of RF signals improves overall system performance and efficiency through reduced cable loss. Use of software-defined radio technologies allows the same hardware to run different waveform applications to support a multitude of missions, including EW and communications.

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