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ViaSat Terminals Undergo UK Skynet MILSATCOM Assurance And Certification Process

An artist’s depiction of the UK’s SKYNET-5A military communications satellite. Image courtesy of Airbus Defence and Space.

Viasat Inc. reports that its Multi-Mission Terminal (MMT), the AN/TSC-241, has started the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Skynet satellite communications (SATCOM) architecture assurance and certification process, which will authorize the terminal’s operation on the Skynet X-band system as well as other government and commercial networks. Viasat expects to complete the certification process during December 2019.

Viasat’s MMT, being a tri-band, multi-network software-defined solution, delivers high-quality IP-based voice, video and data networking across multiple networks in both highly contested and benign environments around the world. Using a portable terminal design, the MMT is an ideal networking solution for forward operating bases, as it enables users to securely access networks and establish command post communications quickly and easily.

During the 2018 multinational Saber Strike exercise, which trained U.S., NATO and coalition forces on security and threat preparedness, field personnel were able to use the MMT’s integrated smartphone app to easily establish communications with minimal training. Other field-proven performance advantages of the MMT included:

+ Enhanced connectivity with a small footprint: Viasat’s MMT provided forces with enhanced satellite connectivity with a very small logistical footprint. This enabled robust data to be sent to Beyond Line of Sight units, significantly enhancing situational awareness across the battlespace.

+ Resilient, high-quality performance on multiple networks: The MMT, which incorporates Viasat’s CBM-400 software-defined modem capable of TDMA/FDMA, over X-, mil-Ka-, Ku- and commercial Ka-band networks, produced robust throughput on high-capacity Ka-band networks. In addition, Viasat’s MMT, through a simple waveform switch to Viasat’s ArcLight waveform, also demonstrated proven satellite connectivity in the Ku-band with enhanced upload and download performance when compared to other legacy systems.

+ Added flexibility: One of Viasat’s MMTs operated entirely on standard military-use batteries during the Saber Strike exercise, demonstrating its logistical flexibility in an austere environment.

+ Ease of use: Viasat’s MMT was set up three separate times over the course of the 22-hour maneuver, demonstrating its portability and ease of use for U.S. and international coalition forces. When compared to other systems, the Saber Strike report noted improved ease of set-up/tear-down of the MMT, which can be done in 15 minutes or less.

“By certifying Viasat’s MMT on the Skynet architecture, the UK MoD will be able to maintain the operational and information advantage needed in today’s escalating threat environment,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “The MMT will provide the UK MoD with easy access to secure, resilient, high-speed, multi-orbit, multi-frequency band and multi-network SATCOM architectures, which will deliver the advanced connectivity needed to integrate into the battle-network of the future.”

The MMT is designed to switch between both government and private sector assured, resilient, integrated networks (ARIN). In addition, the MMT’s CBM-400 software-defined modem will allow customers to switch between multiple waveforms as well as multiple networks and upgrade to Viasat’s next-generation Ka-band network. The CBM-400 is also the first software-defined, multi-waveform, certified modem available to U.S. and coalition military organizations.

“This software-defined, tri-band, multi-network terminal further exemplifies Viasat’s ability to rapidly deliver cutting-edge technologies suited for MoD and coalition forces’ unique mission requirements,” said Steve Beeching, managing director, Government Systems, Viasat UK.

“The MMT builds on our ability to deliver ARIN and the information connectivity needed to power the battle-network of the future. We want the ability for our customer to better connect their forces across today’s rapidly evolving battlespace with the aim to help weaponize information.”

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