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December 15, 2010

Satellite: JPEO JTRS and ViaSat Interconnect Air, Land and Sea Forces

By Nathesh, TMCnet Contributor

ViaSat, a producer of satellite and other digital communication products, and the Joint Program Executive Office (JPEO) for Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) claimed that by integrating commercial mobile SATCOM networks with JTRS networks they were able to acquire the capability to interconnect air, land, and sea forces into an integrated tactical network for shared situational awareness.

This capability allows a field commander to interconnect dispersed field forces using JTRS radios and then backhaul communications to command centers or any other locations, including mobile locations, throughout the globe and transmit video, voice or sensor data anywhere in the globe to influence real time decision making.

Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) is planned to be the next-generation voice-and-data radio used by the U.S. military in field operations. By developing and implementing an open architecture of cutting–edge radio waveform technology, multiple radio types (e.g., handheld, ground–mobile, airborne, maritime) are now capable of communicating with one another.

ViaSat's (News - Alert) Mobile Satcom system uses ArcLight technology to provide, over regulatory-compliant commercial Ku-band systems, two-way broadband access via satellite to ground, airborne and maritime platforms while on the move. The system enables IP-based capabilities such as live video conferencing, streaming video and Command and Control Personal Computer (C2PC) Situational Awareness (SA).   

Even at this age of advanced communications where information can be instantly delivered, tactical communications are dominated by line-of-sight links and they get vastly affected by mountain ranges or other physical obstacles. Even though it is much more advanced than many other radio systems, JTRS makes use of IP-based networking in order to increase its range and reliability of communications and data exchange. The integration of SATCOM’s on the move capabilities will only help JTRS system extend its range and reliability further.

"The commander's intent for JTRS is to provide seamless, interoperable communications from brigade command to squads and teams. Today we have shown this interconnection between primarily localized JTRS networks and the global reachback provided by SATCOM to battalion and brigade command. In dispersed deployments like Iraq and Afghanistan, units are often extended beyond line-of-sight and are subject to blockage due to mountains and other structures. Integrating SATCOM with JTRS networks bridges that gap and puts these units back in touch with each other and with central command," said Ric VanderMeulen, VP of Global Satcom Systems for ViaSat, in a press release.   

Nathesh is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Nathesh's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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