C4ISR

L-3, Intelsat demonstrate anti-jam technology for military satellites

An Air Force contractor working with commercial satellite operator Intelsat on secure communications reported progress in demonstrating an anti-jam capability intended to protect voice, video and IP data transmissions.

The March demonstration of the Air Force's Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW) is part of a larger service effort to secure military satellite communications. The PTW initiative, which focuses on the shape or form of secure signals, seeks to develop anti-jam communications using existing satellites and commercial technologies.

L-3 Communications West (Salt Lake City), one of more than a dozen Air Force contractors selected in October 2012 to develop secure satellite communications, said April 7 it demonstrated PTW signal technology over Ku-band transponders used in Intelsat's commercial satellite fleet.

The partners said transmissions over the existing fleet demonstrated compatibility between PTW and commercial satellites. That could lead to future upgrades to provide anti-jam protection for existing Ku-band platforms like Air Force, Army and Navy unmanned aircraft.

L-3 provided a PTW tactical terminal and hub modem for the secure communications demonstration. The modems processed communications bandwidths up to 2 GHz and data rates up to 300 Mbps, the partners said.

As the military considers greater use of commercial satellite capacity, Intelsat said is expects to test PTW technology on its fleet of Epic satellites beginning in 2015. The new satellites operate in C, Ku and Ka bands.

Intelsat said PTW could provide an anti-jam capability for its new multiband satellite that uses advanced beam-forming technologies along with frequency reuse capabilities. The latter is important as satellite communications spectrum becomes more crowded.


About the Author

George Leopold is a contributing editor for Defense Systems and author of Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom."Connect with him on Twitter at @gleopold1.

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