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The highly mobile nature of today’s military organizations is requiring a shift in the way they manage communications and command and control, also known as C2. Central to the new military strategy is the increasing importance of satellite technology, which enables faster and more robust mobile communications for forces that are often distributed over a large geographical area, out of the range of traditional line-of-sight systems.
In June, Hughes demonstrated its commercially successful satellite communications on-the-move (SOTM) capabilities to a joint military audience in Canberra, Australia. The exercise was part of a larger Lockheed Martin demonstration for the Australian military’s Joint Project 2072 Battlespace Communications System, which will provide a new generation of tactical communications for the Australian Army, Navy, and Air Force, and enable network-centric warfare.
As part of the demonstration, a High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), also known as a Humvee, was outfitted with the commercial Hughes HX280 satellite router and paired with an L3 Datron SOTM antenna system to provide critical, beyond-line-of-sight C2 links. Several miles away, the command post housed the Hughes TGW100 Transportable Gateway with an FA180 1.8-meter antenna satellite terminal provided by satellite communications systems manufacturer Gigasat. This capability provided critical communications and network management systems to the static command elements, allowing single-hop wideband communications to the mobile Humvee. The network operated over the Optus D1 Ku-band satellite.
“Achieving this kind of powerful mobile solution in a compact and rugged package is a breakthrough,” said Dan Losada, senior director, Hughes Defense and Intelligence Systems Division (DISD). “It’s a testament to the power, flexibility, and capability of our HX System that we could successfully close the link between an 18” (45cm) SOTM antenna on the Humvee and a compact 1.8 meter antenna at the TGW100 gateway—reinforcing the tactical advantage of this system in the modern battlespace.”
Providing global coverage, Hughes SOTM solutions offer a full suite of mobile capabilities in a comprehensive range of network topologies and with enhanced security built in, operating in C-, X-, Ku-, or Ka-bands. Hughes SOTM solutions have endured rigorous military testing both in the U.S. and Australia, and are designed for rapid recovery during the intermittent connectivity typical of mobile applications.
Hughes SOTM solutions deliver voice, video, and data communications simultaneously over multi-megabit links. With the capability to set up a high-throughput, robust, and reliable network in just hours, the HX TGW100 transportable gateway eliminates the need to be tied to a fixed site, providing rapidly deployable network capability virtually anywhere for military, government, and first-responder organizations. The HX280 modem can be used in any platform—from a man-pack satellite terminal for special operations forces, to a C-130 or surveillance aircraft, to naval vessels.
In addition, the solution provides true joint interoperability, employing a single technology, whether utilized by the Army, Navy, or Air Force.
“With Hughes SOTM technology, military organizations have access to wideband communications in a mobile setting, enabling richer sources of intelligence and information-sharing between tactical users and headquarters,” added Rick Lober, vice president and general manager, Hughes DISD. “Achieving network-enabled warfare and the information edge is critical for today’s troops, and our partnership with military organizations utilizing the commercially successful HX System is paving the way to make these goals a reality.”
Hughes has been working closely with the Australian Defence Force, helping to define its transition to a TDMA (time division multiple access) satellite architecture, and supplying the HX System for ongoing risk-reduction testing and analysis for its major Program of Record. Hughes also recently booked its first airborne SOTM program for aerial intelligence and surveillance.
Whether for the military or for commercial and government applications such as maritime, emergency communications, and homeland security, Hughes powerful SOTM solutions are the ideal answer to provide instant networking in any environment.