Viasat Contracted to Deliver 1st Link 16-Capable LEO Spacecraft
Viasat was awarded a contract by the Administrator of the Space Enterprise Consortium, under the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles XVI program, to deliver and test the first-ever Link 16-capable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) spacecraft. The Viasat-designed spacecraft is intended to enhance warfighters’ situational awareness by extending the range of Link 16 networks — using a constellation of satellites to provide greater access to Link 16 capabilities in contested or congested environments.
Under the XVI program, Viasat will become the first company to prototype and test space-based Link 16 capabilities compatible with fielded U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Link 16-enabled platforms, including ground vehicles, aircraft, maritime vessels, and dismounted users. The XVI program aims to be a key step towards making a global Link 16-enabled LEO satellite constellation, transforming Link 16 from a Line-of-Sight (LOS) to a Beyond Line-of-Site (BLOS) network, providing U.S. and allied military forces with ubiquitous, secure, high-speed and resilient communications necessary to improve the common operating picture across the global battlespace.
“The XVI award highlights Viasat technology leadership in Link 16 and space-borne tactical communications,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “Our innovative spacecraft design and development coupled with expertise in next-generation tactical datalinks and cybersecurity places Viasat in a unique position to address the Department of Defense’s urgent need for a fast-to-market, cost-effective, space-based Link 16 solution to maintain a technological edge in contested environments.”