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Testing the Future of Protected MILSATCOM

: New protected tactical waveform technology has been successfully tested over both commercial and military satellites, like the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite pictured here in Boeing’s Satellite Development Center. (Boeing photo)
: New protected tactical waveform technology has been successfully tested over both commercial and military satellites, like the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite pictured here in Boeing’s Satellite Development Center. (Boeing photo)

The armed forces of the United States and its allies are heavily dependent on military satellite communications systems. Our adversaries know this and they continue their efforts to develop equipment and techniques to jam these vital communications. As the need for satellite communications grows, so does the need to protect systems from jamming. As the executive agent for space, the U.S. Air Force is investigating innovative ways to address the jamming threat, while still dealing with the current restrictive budget environment.  

Boeing – manufacturer of the U.S. Department of Defense’s highest-capacity military communications system, Wideband Global SATCOM – is one of a few companies that was contracted to develop and test protected tactical waveform technology. This technology shields signals from outside interference that could prevent information from reaching their intended recipient.  

In recent demonstrations, the waveform was transmitted through a commercial modem modified with anti-jamming features to transmit a signal through both commercial and military satellites. Additional testing was recently completed with U.S. Government supervision, which showed the modem also interoperates with a corresponding terminal designed and built at MIT-Lincoln Laboratories. This not only validates that the modems were meeting technical interface specifications, but that they are capable of operating as both a user terminal or space segment networking hub.  

These successful complementing demonstrations show that this technology can be quickly implemented and deployed by using satellites currently on orbit that do not have anti-jamming technology of their own, saving the time and money it takes to build new satellite constellations. The signals were successfully sent without outside interference, and met all requirements and interface specifications for system compatibility and performance.  

This technology will continue to be tested for compatibility with other terminals and systems in 2014.

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