Shipboard radio frequency and free space optics communications system using an airborne relay
St. Germain, Kenneth W.
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This thesis explores the possible gains and discusses the constraints of a communications system that uses a ship to unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) radio frequency (RF) link paired with a UAV to satellite free space optic (FSO) link to accomplish satellite communications. Analysis shows that a data rate of 2 gigabits per second (Gbps) with a 1 . 10 probability of bit error can be attained by a shipboard system with a relatively small antenna and power supply if an FSO-enabled UAV is used. An experiment demonstrated that the addition of an FSO link and additional routing does not reduce the performance of a slower data rate RF link. The findings indicate that a composite RF and FSO ship-UAV-satellite system can be used within the Transformational Communications Architecture (TCA) and with the Navy's FORCEnet to enable network-centric operations (NCO).