Nuclear Scintillation Mitigation by Matched Channel Filtering
Award last edited on: 9/8/2022

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Blair E Sawyer

Company Information

Welkin Sciences LLC

2 North Nevada Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
   (719) 520-5115
Location: Single
Congr. District: 05
County: El Paso

Phase I

Contract Number: HDTRA121P0008
Start Date: 3/3/2021    Completed: 10/3/2021
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Welkin Sciences proposes to develop a comprehensive capability to formulate, analyze, simulate, prototype, and test scintillation-hardened receiver designs, including those enabled with built-in Matched Channel Filter (MCF) functionality. During Phase I, several MCF design architectures will be analyzed using CommLink, our high-fidelity computer simulation framework. Emulation of the type of down-links used by the Iridium user network will be implemented in the CommLink code. These are of particular interest because they employ differentially-encoded PSK modulation, thereby allowing an MCF to be adapted using blind equalization (without the need for training sequences). MCF-enabled Iridium down-links will be included in the CommLink-aided analyses. The various MCF designs will be compared on the basis of mitigation effectiveness and implementation complexity. We anticipate that many (if not all) of the analytical issues addressed in the solicitation will be resolved during Phase I. The full capability will be developed and delivered at the end of Phase II, including a further upgraded version of the CommLink code supporting simulation-aided analysis of a much wider range of mitigation techniques. Also, a hardware platform called the Scintillation-Hardened Prototype Terminal (SHaPT) will be developed and delivered. Like our CoLTS-AD platform, it will employ several high-speed processor boards interconnected by PCI Express (PCIe) 4.0 interfaces. These processor types will include one or two multi-core central processing units (CPUs), two or three data-center-class general-purpose graphical processing units (GPGPUs), and an RF System-on-Chip (RFSoC) board. SHaPT will support multiple RF input and output signal ports allowing the configuration of prototype terminals employing multiple antennae. Prototypes of communication terminals using Multiple-In/Multiple-Out (MIMO) techniques can be prototyped and tested in a laboratory setting. The RF output signal ports will be compatible with MIL-STD-188-164 so SHaPT can support over-the-air SATCOM testing.

Phase II

Contract Number: GDTRA222C0013
Start Date: 9/30/2022    Completed: 9/29/2024
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
Welkin Sciences proposes investigating scintillation-hardening techniques applicable to DoD's strategic communication systems, focusing on hardening specific SATCOM links within the Ballistic Missile Defense System Communications Network that are of particular interest to DTRA and its customer, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). These new scintillation-hardening techniques are based on computationally-intensive signal processing methods that have only become practicable with recent advancements in digital processing technology. Some techniques require the scintillation-hardened link to employ multiple widely-spaced ground antennae connected to the ground transceiver using low-latency data links. MDA has specifically requested that this research program investigate how the Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW) specification might be modified to better support scintillation-hardening techniques. The investigations will employ high-fidelity computer link simulations utilizing several DTRA codes that characterize and emulate RF signal scintillation caused by high-altitude nuclear weapon detonations. Since DTRA and MDA are also concerned about electronic counter-measures (ECM), the computer link simulations will also include emulations of the jamming techniques that adversaries are expected to employ against MDA's SATCOM links. This simulation-aided link analysis and design project anticipates a future research project for development of testable hardware prototypes of the most promising scintillation-hardened communication system designs emerging from this research.