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One of the beauties of technology innovation is that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. What works in one setting can often be adapted and applied to other industries, scenarios, or purposes. Sharing a rich heritage of technology innovation with the former Hughes Aircraft Company, a longtime trusted partner of the U.S. military community, our Defense and Intelligence Systems Division (DISD) is focused on doing just that—applying successful commercial Hughes satellite networking technology for military customers.
At Hughes DISD, we’re not in the business of selling boxes; rather we provide system-level solutions that can be readily integrated into military networks. In addition, we provide related network management systems and services to operate and support those solutions. Solving difficult problems is what Hughes does well—enabling us to develop advanced communications systems that meet the needs of today’s military while helping prepare the military of tomorrow.
A case in point is our SATCOM on-the-move (SOTM) system prototype that operates with a small Ku-band antenna—less than 9 inches in diameter. Size is a critical factor for SOTM systems, especially for troops deployed in mountainous or urban conflict zones. It is the only reliable and effective solution to maintain net-centric communications; moreover, smaller antennas afford greater mobility while limiting detection by enemy forces.
Portable, proven terminals are vital to maintaining communications with the Global Information Grid (GIG), especially in demanding environments. We’ve responded to that challenge by expanding our collaborative efforts to offer the commercially successful HX broadband satellite technology for integration into a variety of lightweight terminals optimized for Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) use by U.S. and Coalition forces.
Earlier this year, we demonstrated our SOTM solution to the Australian military for its Joint Project 2072 Battlespace Communications System, which will usher in a new generation of tactical communications. (See related article: “Hughes Successfully Demonstrates SATCOM on-the-Move Down Under” in this issue of Channels.)
During a recent U.S. Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID), Hughes demonstrated the homeland defense capabilities of our award-winning Ka-band SPACEWAY® 3 satellite, the world’s first commercial satellite system with onboard packet switching and routing, and 10 times the capacity of conventional, Ku-band bent-pipe satellites.
According to the CWID Final Report, SPACEWAY 3 successfully demonstrated high-definition video teleconferencing between the U.S. Northern Command, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego. The report noted that the SPACEWAY 3 system established a highly reliable broadband satellite link that maintained 100 percent connectivity, as well as maximized bandwidth allocation for Internet, data, VoIP, videoconferencing, and IP-based applications.
We are now in discussions with several potential customers, including the U.S. Senate, on the use of SPACEWAY 3 for emergency backup communications.
As situational awareness becomes increasingly essential for mission success, military organizations require leading-edge, cost-effective solutions with minimal set-up times. A good example is the Hughes Advanced Airborne Video Solution, which was recently demonstrated to a U.S. Government agency. Based on a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) platform that delivers unmatched performance while operating at affordable broadband satellite data rates, the Advanced Airborne Video Solution consistently delivered high-quality, D-1 video resolution using a fully configured Albatross aircraft at air-to-ground user data rates of over 2 Mbps. We are now under contract with an important U.S. Government agency to supply this type of system for border surveillance efforts.
Another recent innovation is the Hughes HX Expert Network Management System (HX ExpertNMS™), a full-featured network management system that provides superior usability. Featuring an intuitive, interactive interface and advanced diagnostics monitoring to optimize network performance, HX ExpertNMS has successfully undergone multiple trials by U.S. and Coalition military organizations. Based on these successes, our HX System will be deployed by a key U.S. Army group later this year.
Looking to the future, we’re very excited about demonstrating the capabilities of our next-generation satellite, JUPITER™, scheduled for launch in the first half of 2012. JUPITER is a true game-changer—a high-throughput, Ka-band satellite system with over 100 Gbps of capacity, 100 times greater than today’s conventional Ku-band satellites. This hasn’t gone unnoticed, as we‘ve been awarded a $1 million study to show how JUPITER and other Hughes system-level satellite solutions can help the U.S. Air Force fill the gap left by the cancellation of the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) program in 2009.
With the talents and dedication of our people building on the solid foundation of Hughes commercial technology, we see continued strong growth of our customer base and a bright future for Hughes DISD