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Raytheon Technologies announced the launch on 3 May 2023 of NexGen Optix, which is describes as “a tactical free-space optical communications system that enables high-speed, secure data transfer in challenging environments”.

Developed by Raytheon Blackbird Technologies, NexGen Optix provides greater bandwidths in a form factor that is smaller, weighs less, uses less power and costs less than conventional optical systems and can securely send more data within the same bandwidth over longer distances.

Optical communication systems use lasers instead of radio frequencies to send data, which means the signal is less susceptible to detection, interference and jamming.

“NexGen Optix represents a significant advancement in secure communication and shared networking technology,” Troy Smith, director of Raytheon Blackbird Technologies, was quoted as saying in a company press release. “We’ve developed a solution that enables organisations to communicate effectively in challenging environments where traditional communication systems may not be reliable.”

Raytheon Blackbird Technologies’ NexGen Optics system provides high-bandwidth, high-speed, secure communications in a rugged lightweight package for field deployment. (Image: Raytheon)

As an ultra-low size, weight and power-cost (SWaP-C) solution, NexGen Optix has been optimised for peer and near-peer operational environments and provides rapid, secure communication and connectivity. Offering a tactical advantage to forces, the system has been tested and approved during US government exercises, Raytheon noted.

In addition to its high-speed data transfer capabilities, NexGen Optix is lightweight and portable, making it easy to deploy in the field. The system is also designed with rugged components that can withstand harsh environmental conditions and battlefield use, ensuring reliability even in extreme situations, Raytheon added.

Peter Felstead