SATCOM

September 10, 2019
 

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.

June 27, 2019
 

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).

June 19, 2019
Posted by Gopika Ramesh
A U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal is assembling an AN/PRC-117G radio on the flight deck of an amphibious assault ship. The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) adds updated firmware to the radio, giving warfighters more advanced satellite communications.” Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tawanya Norwood.

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.

April 11, 2019
 

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.

October 11, 2018
By Ken Peterman
Hybrid adaptive networks combines the power of U.S. military and commercial satellite communications, maximizing warfighter capabilities and resilience. Credit: sumanley/Pixabay

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. 

October 1, 2018
By Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch
Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Austin Vosburg, USN, performs routine maintenance on the USS Zephyr’s commercial broadband satellite program equipment. The maritime family of SATCOM terminals provides high data rate communications to small and large ships.

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.

August 23, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Maj. Gen. James J. Mingus, USA, commanding general, 82nd Airborne Division, speaks at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta conference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

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.

August 2, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
Marines from the 1st Marine Division test out the Mobile User Objective System at a Field User Evaluation in Camp Pendleton, California. MUOS is a satellite communication system that uses commercial cell phone technology on the battlefield. Marine Corps Systems Command will begin fielding MUOS in the fourth quarter of 2018. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Eddie Young

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.

June 1, 2018
By Kurt Stephens and Bill Whittington
An omnidirectional broadband antenna and 5 meter Rolatube mast system weighs 11 pounds and can be set up and ready for transmit and receive in less than six minutes by one person.

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.

December 4, 2017
By James Christophersen
U.S. Army soldiers unload critical supplies in Puerto Rico. The Army also is providing satellite communications in support of hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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.

November 15, 2017
 

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.

November 3, 2017
 

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

April 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
The U.S. Defense Department lacked sufficient satellite resources for many missions during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, propelling the department to rely heavily on commercial services for its satellite needs.

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. 

March 16, 2017
By James Christophersen
Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the Alabama Army National Guard assemble a VSAT, similar to the one Army Medical Command personnel rely upon for telemedicine support when forward-deployed.

During the final days of November, managers for the Joint Telemedicine Network (JTMN) powered down the central teleport facility in Landstuhl, Germany, officially closing the network that had provided a dedicated worldwide satellite communication (SATCOM) network to U.S. Army medical personnel treating wounded soldiers at field hospitals and forward operating bases in combat zones.

February 1, 2017
By Carl Morris and James Christophersen
A new state-of-the-art Satellite Earth Terminal Station (SETS) in Landstuhl, Germany, provides improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning and power distribution as well as additional floor space to better accommodate increased systems and subsystems. Photo courtesy U.S. Army-PM DCATS

U.S. Army satellite ground stations are getting a much-needed total makeover—considering that several hail from the same era as the Vietnam War, the Kennedy presidency and the space race. 

Their high-tech moniker—Satellite Earth Terminal Stations, or SETS—belies the actual nature of these facilities. The structures appear to more closely resemble corrugated steel warehouses for auto parts than suitable environments for cutting-edge satellite communications (SATCOM) equipment. During the 1960s, digital SATCOM was hardly a twinkle in the eye of technologists. SATCOM speed, volume and complexity would increase by many orders of magnitude over the next five decades.

February 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
This image captures the results of an experiment conducted at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., where scientists set up radio sensors around buildings to test whether they could locate a small transmitter by listening for its emissions. They located the transmitter, but they were less successful as the emissions got farther away. An algorithm under development could help locate an emitter with a network of inexpensive power sensors.

Advances in a plethora of military communication and situational awareness platforms have created unintended repercussions for the U.S. Navy, from the “forest of antennas” that can consume a ship’s deck to the debilitating effects of radio interference that clog airwaves and impede critical links to vessels, aircraft, drones and even satellites. Navy engineers are toiling on a handful of projects to ensure effective and secure communication links, which are so fundamental to military operations. 

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. troops conduct a so-called “jump test” of a new capability. Here they evaluate the Hughes HM300 portable X-band satellite terminal used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The U.S. Navy’s investment in its own fleet of high-altitude, long-range unmanned aerial systems called Tritons marks a detour from the military’s longtime use of satellite technology to connect its arsenal of big platforms such as Global Hawks and Predators. 

October 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
A brigade combat team with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division employs tactical vehicles with advanced networking systems. The Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications–Tactical (PEO C3T) is aiming to simplify network setup and operation as new technologies and capabilities are added.

As the U.S. Army brings even more advanced information technologies into the force, the service also strives to simplify training and use of these highly capable tools. Making increasingly complex systems simpler to operate now is a core function of the office tasked with designing, fielding and maintaining command, control and communications in the warfighting realm.

August 12, 2016
 

Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems, Marlborough, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $39,951,691 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (FA8808-16-C-0006) for protected tactical service field demonstration (PTSFD). PTSFD will demonstrate the ability to provide wideband anti-jam communications to tactical users using the Wideband Global Satellite Communications (SATCOM) constellation and commercial SATCOM. Work will be performed in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by September 30, 2020. 

March 8, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
SBIRS High features a mix of four geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) satellites, two highly elliptical earth orbit (HEO) payloads and associated ground hardware and software.

In its enduring space race to narrow the materializing gap between the United States and peer competitors, the Air Force’s fiscal year 2017 budget emphasizes sustaining mission capabilities and improving space resilience by investing in command and control programs, situational awareness technologies, expendable launch systems and satellite communications.

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