LGS Innovations has been awarded a $1.9 million contract for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Tactical Undersea Network Architectures (TUNA) program.
The company along with Linden Photonics and Tethers Unlimited – will aim to develop the world’s strongest neutrally-buoyant undersea cable for an undersea fiber optic based network. Under the terms of the contract, LGS will provide model simulations, design, and analysis as well as scaled development and demonstration for the technology over a period of 15 months.
“The goal of the program is to ensure that our armed forces retain an information advantage even in contested environments where potential adversaries may attempt to disrupt other communication channels,” said Kevin Kelly, CEO of LGS Innovations.
Undersea telecommunications networks are rapidly growing worldwide. Many of them are aimed at improving overall communications capabilities, but networks are also being studied that would connect electrical grids in island areas. This is currently happening in Hawaii, where the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is studying the use of undersea cables for electrical grids to determine if such a cable is in the public interest.
That project could cost anywhere from $600-800 million.
The NSA and other intelligence agencies also regularly tap undersea cables for surveillance purposes.
This is the latest in several telecommunications expansion projects currently underway at DARPA. The agency awarded Leidos a $7.9 million contract to expand on-land spectrum sharing capabilities earlier this month. That award is part of the next phase of the Shared Spectrum Access for Radar and Communications (SSPARC) program for communications with a bandwidth below 6 GHz.