Melbourne, Florida (October 25, 2023) – Critical Frequency Design (CFD), an advanced aerospace and defense photonics technology company headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, announced today a three-year, $2.95M contract award by the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Center (C5ISR), part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), to demonstrate Free Space Optics (FSO) Communications.

FSO is a line-of-sight technology that uses lasers to provide high-speed communications. Similar to how fiber optic communication transformed the telecommunications industry, FSO is poised to revolutionize communications and sensing in the modern contested battlespace. FSO enhances security beyond the traditional radio frequency systems with Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) and Low Probability of Detection (LPD) characteristics while expanding the data rate by orders of magnitude, enabling the real-time transfer of data-rich information to decision-makers.

Under the contract, CFD will demonstrate its ultra-low Size, Weight, Power, and Cost (SWaP-c) FSO communications technology for comms on the move. Unlike traditional FSO solutions that use a mechanical gimbal, CFD’s solution utilizes advanced photonic technologies, which enables it to perform rapid alignment and acquisition during transit and in high-vibration environments. It also has lower SWaP than traditional FSO solutions, which enable it to be used on a wider variety of platforms. While the demonstration will primarily focus on ground-to-air communications, CFD’s solution is readily adaptable to air-to-air or soldier-to-soldier communications.

“This award represents a major advancement for CFD and will enable us to demonstrate the maturity of our FSO technology in an actual operational environment,” said Rebecca Warren, CEO of CFD.

The contract announcement also marks CFD’s achievement of a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award. The SBIR program is a U.S. government funding program, coordinated by the Small Business Administration, intended to help certain small businesses conduct research and development to develop competitive technologies. A Phase III SBIR award is a major accomplishment for companies as technologies move from inception to marketplace. CFD’s approach also aligns with the goals of the recently passed CHIPS Act to advance semiconductor design and next-generation technologies


Critical Frequency Design (CFD) provides advanced photonics communications and sensing solutions for warfighters in contested environments. Led by an agile, innovative team of experts across engineering, manufacturing, supply chain and program management, CFD possesses the knowledge and expertise to rapidly deliver mission-critical solutions to the warfighter.

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Critical Frequency Design is a client company of the UCF Business Incubation Program at the Research Park Innovation District.

Rebecca Warren, CEO

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