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US Army to Install ViaSat Small Tactical Terminals

By | June 21, 2017
      An AH-64 Apache rises from behind a hill during a training exercise at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Wikimedia.

      An AH-64 Apache rises from behind a hill during a training exercise at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Wikimedia.

      Boeing has awarded ViaSat a multi-year contract for two-channel Small Tactical Terminals (STTs) for the AH-64E Apache Guardian. Production of ViaSat’s KOR-24A Link 16 terminal will be designated for the U.S. Army and foreign military sales. The base contract covers a minimum of 534 terminals to be produced over the next four years. ViaSat said that contract would eventually contain options.

      ViaSat said the STT was developed with private funds to meet forecasted warfighter requirements. The non-developmental item can deliver faster capabilities at a lower total lifecycle cost, the company said, compared to other programs of record such as the Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS).

      “This award, along with other customers for the STT, has caused us to initiate a pre-planned production ramp up to approximately 35 terminals per month, leveraging investments we have already made in our capacity based upon this forecast demand,” said Andy Kessler, business area director for ViaSat’s next generation tactical datalink systems. “Coupled with more than 600 terminals already in the field today, we expect to eclipse 1,000 STTs deployed worldwide by early in 2018.”

      The STT will provide the AH-64E with a Link 16 common operating picture, enhancing situational awareness in the multi-role combat helicopter and providing a soldier radio waveform capability for Air-to-Ground (ATG) communication. These integrations should also improve the aircraft’s lethality and survivability, according to ViaSat.

      In March, the U.S. Army granted Boeing a five-year deal for the AH-64E. It was the first multi-year agreement for the Apache’s E variant. The contract covers full-rate production of remanufactured aircraft and new-build aircraft, remanufactured and new-build Longbow crew trainers, ground support equipment, initial spares, integrated logistics support and engineering technical services. Boeing said the U.S. Army is to receive 244 remanufactured units, while 24 new units will go to the foreign customer.

      This story was originally published in Rotor & Wing International, a Via Satellite sister publication. It has been edited to better serve our audience.

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