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SATCOM Solution Delivers Uninterrupted, Real-Time Information to Military Aircraft Commanders

Resource Type
Use Case
real-time information to military aircraft commanders


A military special operations unit supports search and rescue missions in remote, mountainous regions across Central Asia. The team must be able to receive real-time, mission-critical information from commanders back at headquarters while in flight.


Current communications options do not support high-definition video and data-intensive transmissions and are vulnerable to jamming and interference by adversaries.

The Special Operations pilots, passengers and commanders require resilient, uninterrupted Beyond Line of Sight (BLoS) communications while enroute so they can review situational awareness data and weather conditions, share information at the remote site, and send data back to the command center. This connectivity must be seamless, even if the military teams are thousands of miles apart in hostile environments.

The special operations team sought a communications solution that:

  • Securely and dynamically connects to the government’s Wideband Global Satellite System and other commercial satellites in multiple frequency bands and multiple orbits
  • Delivers high data rate connectivity to support sending and receiving HD video communications on and off the aircraft
  • Provides flexibility and interoperability to enable communications between multiple types of aircraft, including fixed and rotary wing platforms
  • Meets the team’s specific requirements including critical Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWaP-C) parameters

Hughes Solution

The special operations command selected a software-defined airborne SATCOM system from Hughes to enable secure, real-time connectivity wherever the mission leads, including remote or contested environments.

The Hughes airborne SATCOM system:

  • Utilizes HM series modems, integrated with very small and light-weight user terminals for deployment on multiple types of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
  • Delivers very high throughput both on and off the aircraft, 10 Mbps-45 Mbps
  • Provides flexibility and adaptability based on open-systems technology that can be adapted to support communications using multiple satellite frequencies, including the DoD’s Mil-Ka band on the Wideband Global Satellite constellation, on various small satellite terminals
  • Integrates Scrambled Code Multiple Access (SCMA), a Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) waveform, that enables LPI/LPD/LPE characteristics to ensure lower probability that the communications transmission will be visible to adversaries or impacted by multiple types of jammers
  • Employs technology certified to work with the DoD’s Wideband Global Satellite constellation

Hughes Technology

The Hughes airborne system supports the constantly changing demands of military aircraft operators and commanders while flying to and from missions around the globe:

  • Hughes SCMA waveform empowers the HM series modems to operate using many different technologies, showing the importance of open systems architectures
  • The ruggedized, ½ Air Transport Rack (ATR) Mil Spec modem installed on the aircraft transmits High-Definition video and other critical sensor information from the aircraft to the ground (via an HM100 hub modem) to support Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) missions and deliver real-time situational awareness
  • The advanced airborne and ground modems feature Single Channel Per Carrier (SCPC)-Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA) communications which results in high modem efficiency and provides up to 45 Mbps for enroute communications on the aircraft

For more information about the Hughes HM System, please visit