Raytheon Plans Tests for New Anti-Jam Waveform
[Via Satellite 07-03-2014] Raytheon is readying for a test this month of a new protected tactical waveform for the United States government. The waveform is being developed to provide increased anti-jam satellite communications for a larger audience of military users beyond those with access to Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites.
“Most users are only allowed to use advanced EHF in protected areas,” Brian Rodriguez, director of business development for Raytheon’s Integrated Communication Systems division, told Via Satellite. “Front line tactical users cannot use it because of the risk of compromise of the strategic keys and because it is used for nuclear command and control, the waveform is classified, etc. There has been a push to see how do we provide the more anti-jam capability to advanced users [such as] Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), comms-on-the-move, manpacks and people on the front lines so that they don’t have a risk of compromising those strategic keys.”
Raytheon demonstrated the new waveform using one of its modems on Dec. 22, 2013 on a Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellite. The Air Force is supporting the project by providing funding through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) as part of the Design for Affordability and Risk Reduction. A consortium of 16 industry partners developed the waveform, which blends features from AEHF and commercial satellites to yield anti-jam performance through an unclassified waveform. This reduces the risk of compromise, and therefore the level of precaution needed compared to AEHF.
“The waveform is really frequency agnostic so you could use almost any satellite,” explained Rodriguez. “WGS is a prime target because it has features built into the satellite that are also advantageous. It has been demonstrated on Ku-band commercial satellites so you could run this waveform over a commercial satellite at Ku-band for example, however those satellites typically cannot provide as significant an amount of anti-jam as WGS would.”
The next compatibility test of this waveform is scheduled for this month at Lincoln Labs. The Air Force is funding the test, where Raytheon’s terminal will be used, as will L-3 Communications’ terminal. At the time of the BAA, the Air Force was looking into long-term projects to evaluate next-generation technology. However, according to Raytheon, this new waveform can be used now.
“We found that you can implement this waveform on our modem today. You don’t have to wait until the next generation space segment is available; you can operate this over existing satellites. The significance is that you can provide in a much shorter time frame — in a year or two — tactical users and other users anti-jam capabilities using existing satellites like WGS.”
Raytheon currently provides the Navy Multi-band Terminals (NMT), Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminals (SMART-T) for the Army, and Minuteman Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network Program Upgrade (MMPU) for the Air Force, providing access to AEHF satellites. The company also recently won the Family of Advanced Beyond Line of Sight (FAB-T) terminal having fought off competition from Boeing. Rodriguez said following the July demonstration, Raytheon is planning additional tests for later this year.
“There are plans to do additional demonstrations with WGS in the October-November timeframe, so there will be additional demos there … the year will wrap up with proving the concept, proving the waveform, that it is a standard, that interoperability is there, and then next year we will see what happens with the services and with [the Space and Missile Systems Center] (SMC), what they chose to do as follow-on next year.
Rodriguez said there have been some Requests for Information (RFIs) to look at additional work, but nothing has been guaranteed for 2015. Offering this solution as a way to lower the risk of compromise while boosting the availability of anti-jam satcom, Raytheon hopes these demonstrations will convince SMC and the Air Force of the value of its new technology.