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Intelsat General, L-3 CS-West test protected Air Force tactical technology

Demonstration carried out over Ku-band transponders on Intelsat fleet

Intelsat General Corp and L-3 Communication Systems-West (L-3 CS-West) have announced the successful demonstration of new US Air Force Protected Tactical Waveform technology over Ku-band transponders on the Intelsat fleet.

The demonstrations and performance characterisation were conducted at the Intelsat teleport in Ellenwood, Georgia, US, during the week of March 4. Engineers conducting the tests measured the performance of anti-jam modems and waveform technology from L-3 CS-West on a Ku-band satellite emulator and over the Galaxy 18 satellite, built by SSL and launched in 2008. The tests, observed by a representative from the air force Space and Missile Systems Center, demonstrated full-duplex voice, video and IP data via the air force’s new Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW).

L-3 CS-West is currently working under an air force contract, performing studies and developing proof-of-concept modem and security designs using PTW. PTW is designed to provide affordable, anti-jam satcom capabilities over existing satellites, leveraging commercial, off-the-shelf technologies.

The testing and transmissions over an existing Intelsat Ku-band satellite validate the compatibility of the PTW with commercial space assets. They also pave the way for future affordable upgrades to provide anti-jam protection to existing Ku-band systems, such as army, navy and air force remotely piloted aircraft.

“Through our collaboration with Intelsat, both airborne and ground users will be able to upgrade using L-3 wideband modems for both higher capacity and protected capabilities,” says Val Snyder, President of L-3 – Communication Systems West. “These results are a big step toward providing our customers the ability to modernise their existing assets to include protected capabilities within the fiscally constrained defence budget environment of today.”

L-3 CS-West provided PTW terminal and hub modems to support the end-to-end tests. The modem technology supports processing bandwidths up to 2 GHz and data rates from 10 kbps up to 300 Mbps.

Following the successful demonstration, Intelsat and L-3 CS-West plan to further analyse the potential capabilities of the PTW on Intelsat EpicNG satellites over the next year. The companies expect to conduct additional demonstrations on the Intelsat EpicNG platform in 2015.

“The results achieved are an important step towards future upgrades for existing Ku-band users in a constrained budgetary environment,” says Mark Daniels, Vice-President of Engineering and Operations at Intelsat General. “In addition to anti-jam communications over legacy Ku-band systems, the increased performance, localised beams and wider bandwidths of our new Intelsat EpicNG technology could offer government customers potential protection levels that are extremely attractive.”