The military community is transforming the battlefield of the 21st century around network-centric warfare. Whether in manned (ships, aircraft, and vehicles) or unmanned (missiles, sensors, air and ground vehicles (UAVs and UGVs)) equipment, secure wireless communications are central to the solution. Further, to cover multiple battlefield scenarios, add the complexity of triple-play (voice, video, and data) capabilities and multi-megabit bandwidths.

While airborne and maritime software-defined radios (SDRs) have functional and heat dissipation (cooling) challenges, the most demanding requirements for SWaP applications are in handheld, manpack, and small form factor (HMS) battery-operated systems. For these applications, FPGAs continue to provide more flexibility and functionality at reduced cost. This paper describes how Altera’s latest generation FPGAs provide an optimum solution for SWaP requirements by enabling new SDR systems with smaller footprints, lighter weight, and smaller batteries.