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SOCOM grants contract for new jammer-proof BlackWave radio system

The war in Ukraine has shown what the modern battlefield looks like, and the U.S. military is taking notes.
Joshua Skovlund Avatar
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Special Tactics operators assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord communicate with each other via radio in order to manage a runway during a humanitarian aid and disaster relief scenario, Nov. 30, 2021, at Moses Lake, Wash. (Tech. Sgt. Carly Kavish/U.S. Air Force).

PDW, a defense contracting company dedicated to drone technology, was awarded a $6.9 million contract from the U.S. Special Operations Forces Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics office to deliver BlackWave, a next-generation radio system designed to function in congested and contested radio frequency environments.

The war in Ukraine has shown what the modern battlefield looks like, and the U.S. military is taking notes. Small unmanned drones have wreaked havoc on entrenched battlefields, and radio wave jammers are causing technological failures in critical systems. 

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According to PDW, BlackWave is a secure digital link that can function in jammed and congested radio frequency environments. It passed the testing and challenges of the Joint Vulnerability Assessment Branch, called the Cyber Vulnerability Assessment, which is required for the BlackWave to be fielded by American forces.

“We believe BlackWave will be a game changer that contributes to a new era in radio development for American defense and small robotics,” said Trevor Smith, PDW’s CSO, in a statement provided to Task and Purpose.

Small drones on kamikaze missions have been a major concern since Russia invaded Ukraine. That’s led to a race to combat that threat using drone guns that use focused radio waves that jam a wide array of frequencies. The tech is being used on both sides, often making the difference between life and death for troops on the ground. 

As the brutal war has trudged into its second year, Ukraine and Russia are both working toward solutions to make their drone warfare invincible to any sort of jamming. According to EurAsian Times, the Russians have acquired that capability

Though America isn’t involved in direct combat in Ukraine, the U.S. military has been learning from the conflict and implementing training and now joins the jammer-proof drone and communications technology race. 

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