The Space Force has announced that the planned satellite hacking challenge known as Space Security Challenge 2020: Hack-A-Sat would proceed as planned, but in a virtual format due to the pandemic. The Department of the Air Force and the Defense Digital Service's (DDS's) event includes an online qualification event May 22-24, followed by a final August 7-9. During the final, participants will attempt to reverse-engineer representative ground-based and on-orbit satellite system components to overcome planted “flags” or software code.
By December 31, seven contractors working with the Air Force will deliver critical pieces of the Defense Department’s new satellite communications architecture. The architecture is designed to deliver greater agility, resilience and situational awareness.
Concerns are growing about warfighters’ ability to communicate mission-critical information beyond line-of-sight in conflicts with peer and near-peer adversaries. Just in time, a new generation of highly capable high frequency radios is emerging as a viable solution when satellite communications are denied or unavailable. Fourth-generation wideband high frequency radios can satisfy military needs with the century-old wireless technology that is experiencing a resurgence of interest from warfighters worldwide.
CACI Inc. - Federal, Chantilly, Virginia, is awarded $180,336,750 for a single award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, performance based, cost-plus-fixed-fee, level-of-effort contract (N65236-20-D-8003) to provide special operations communications systems, satellite communications (SATCOM) and network support services. Work will be performed in Fayetteville, North Carolina (65%); continental U.S. (20%); outside continental U.S. (10%); and Tampa, Florida (5%).
As cyber threats continue to grow, so does the reality that digital satellite communications can be degraded and denied either through digital or electromagnetic means. If these capabilities are compromised, however, high frequency radio provides a means to continue communicating even beyond the line of sight by leveraging the ionosphere to refract radio signals back to earth.
The International Communication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector designates the high frequency (HF) range as between 3 megahertz and 30 megahertz. While this method of communication was utilized extensively up through the 1990s, it began to lose traction in the military when the availability of satellite communications (SATCOM) increased.
CACI National Security Solutions Inc. (CACI), Reston, Virginia, is awarded a modification to a previously awarded (N65236-16-D-8011) indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee performance based contract. Thes single award contract (SAC) is currently in its fourth year with a contract expiration date of September 14, 2020. This modification increases the basic contract estimated ceiling by $21,678,272 and changes the cumulative estimated value of the contract from $104,541,625 to $126,219,897. This SAC is for Special Operations Communications Systems Satellite Communications and Network Support Services in support of U.S.
The Army awarded Atlanta-based Envistacom a $47.8 million, three-year contract in support of the service's Deployable Ku-Band Earth Terminal (DKET) program. The company will assist the Army’s Product Manager Satellite Communications (PdM SATCOM). The tasking comes as part of the Deployable Adaptive Global Responder Support indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract that has a ceiling of $480 million over five years. The company will provide installation, training, relocation, integration, and upgrades for new, legacy and existing DKETs, DKET LT - the so-called Lite version - and mobile DKET, known as MKET. PdM SATCOM is responsible for the Army's tactical multi-channel satellite ground and commercial terminal programs.
Carlsbad, California-based Viasat upgraded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) ultra high frequency (UHF) satellite communications (SATCOM) control stations to comply with the new integrated waveform baseline. The upgrade will provide NATO with improved interoperability, scalability and flexibility across legacy and next-generation platforms, according to the company.
IAP Worldwide Services Inc., Cape Canaveral, Florida, was awarded a $16,289,540 hybrid (cost-no-fee, firm-fixed-price and time-and-materials) contract for satellite communication support. Bids were solicited via the internet with two received. Work will be performed in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of January 21, 2025. Fiscal year 2019 operations and maintenance Army funds in the amount of $16,289,540 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity (W52P1J-19-C-0034).
The U.S. Marine Corps recently began using a next-generation narrowband satellite communication system called the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) to help warfighters in connecting to networks on the battlefield and communicate in a tactical environment.
MUOS works by using antennas that let Marines access SATCOM networks while also providing them with secure and nonsecure internet access. The system applies to both mobile or stationary marines and was fielded in the first quarter of 2019. It includes updated firmware to the AN/PRC-117G radio system and one of three antenna kits.
The Boeing Co., Seattle, Washington, is awarded $93,632,264 for cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order N0001919F2963 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0001). The order provides for the manufacture, test, installation, integration, and qualification of up to eight Wideband Satellite Communication kits in the P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the Navy. Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington (83 percent); Patuxent River, Maryland (15 percent); and St. Louis, Missouri (2 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2024.
Historically, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has been the driver of technological innovation, inventing remarkable capabilities to empower warfighter mission effectiveness and improve warfighter safety. Yet over the past 25 years, a transformational shift has taken place in several key technology sectors, and technology leadership in these sectors is no longer being driven by the military, but rather by the private sector.
The impact of world events on military operators in the field have made missions exponentially more demanding, and in tandem, the very simple concept of connectivity has transformed into a complex and challenging task. As new events occur around the globe, military and government users in remote and often hostile environments require instant and reliable connectivity empowered by robust intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor data. Resilient and secure satellite communications capabilities warfighters rely on also must be accessible at a moment’s notice.
The world is on the verge of a space-based global mesh network that could provide full-motion video of the entire planet, and that could pose problems for the military.
The U.S. Navy announced today that U.S. Strategic Command has approved the service’s next-generation narrowband satellite communication system for expanded operational use. The authorization paves the way for Navy and Marine Corps “early-adopter” commands to use the system on deployment as early as this fall, primarily in the Pacific theater, according to the written announcement. The Navy's on-orbit, five-satellite constellation—the Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS—began providing legacy satellite communications shortly after the system’s first satellite launch in 2012.
With the development and fielding of satellite communications throughout the U.S. military, today’s warfighters rarely use high frequency communications within and between units. International events have increased interest in high frequency communications as an alternative to connecting via satellites on current and future battlefields. U.S. military units already own a large amount of the radio equipment suitable for employment at various levels of the battlefield and for humanitarian relief as a redundant means of beyond-line-of-sight communications.
More than 2,000 miles away from the path of devastation cut by hurricanes Irma and Maria, network engineers at the Rock Island Arsenal Integrated Network Operations Center (INOC) work around-the-clock to support the relief efforts of American aid workers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Operated by the Army’s product lead for Defense-Wide Transmission Systems, the INOC establishes and supports satellite (SATCOM) communications links for a wide range of missions.
UltiSat, Incorporated of Gaithersburg, Maryland was awarded a 5-year master services agreement (MSA) to provide satellite communications products and services for a global humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) with operations in the Middle East. Under this MSA, UltiSat will provide very small aperture terminal (VSAT) equipment, training and managed network services to the organization’s field offices across the Middle East. “UltiSat is pleased to support the missions of this global NGO with important operations in the Middle East,” said Brum Cerzosimo, UltiSat’s Senior Director of Global Accounts. “UltiSat brings years of experience and expertise working in this region in support of humanitarian missions.
Mnemonics Incorporated of Melbourne, Florida, is being awarded a $10,043,841 cost-plus-fixed fee completion contract for the final phase of research and development services for Satellite, Avionics and Communications Systems. The total cumulative face value of this contract including all options, is $49,615 252. Work will be performed at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, District of Columbia, and work is expected to be completed October 31, 2018. If all options are exercised, work will continue through November 30, 2022. Fiscal 2018 Navy working capital funds in the amount of $150,000 will be obligated at the time of award. No funds will expire at end of current fiscal year. This contract was procured on the basis other than f
As the U.S. Defense Department goes full force into managing its terrestrial digital infrastructure of interconnected systems, it faces an additional challenge: connecting the moving dots involving space-based networks. Military satellite users want commercial service providers to develop more resilient and flexible communication networks based on open architectures to streamline shifts between military and commercial resources.