Low earth Orbit News Satellite

Viasat to add military-grade encryption to Link 16 satellite

The Link 16 payload will be incorporated into a Blue Canyon Technologies bus with an antenna array provided by Roccor.

Viasat Inc. has announced it will integrate its In-line Network Encryptor (INE) into the new Link 16-capable low earth orbit (LEO) satellite, which Viasat is developing for the US Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles XVI programme.

Viasat’s INE will be the first crypto deployment on a Link 16-capable LEO satellite, and will provide communications security (COMSEC) and additional enhanced cybersecurity capabilities initially associated with mission data transfer, with future evolutions expected to simultaneously secure user data; telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) management; and inter-satellite communications—at multiple security levels.

Viasat’s INE, which was designed for a very low Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) constrained system, is expected to provide radiation-tolerant network encryption aligned with the LEO space environment and will be capable of supporting speeds exceeding 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) aggregate throughput, which can secure Link 16-to-LEO communications. The INE will also be able to secure the data flow between an unclassified spacecraft bus and the classified processing domain.

Craig Miller, president, Government Systems, Viasat, said: “In addition to building and testing the first-ever Link 16-capable LEO satellite prototype, Viasat is also focused on delivering the first high assurance, fully-programmable crypto deployed in space. Our focus is on revolutionising space-based cryptographic and cybersecurity solutions by moving away from embedded, fixed single-application ASICs and moving to ‘plug and play,’ fully-programmable, multi-functional and highly-efficient military-grade cryptos that can be rapidly deployed by supporting commercial off the shelf technology enhancements for small satellites.”