Viasat demonstrates multi-vendor hybrid solution for the U.S. DoD

Viasat recently showcased our A-PACE capabilities through a demonstration of our Hybrid SATCOM Approach (HSA)

U.S. Air Force refueling jet in sky
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A forward deployed U.S. Air Force aircraft detects a threat to blue forces operating in the region. The platform passes the threat data to an airborne refueling aircraft that utilizes its satellite communication (SATCOM) beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) capability to inject the threat intelligence into the theater’s Common Operating Picture (COP), enabling appropriate threat mitigation action, even as an adversary attempts to disrupt the communications links.

In this and other real-life scenarios, service members may find themselves contending with extreme weather conditions and/or adversarial activity that disrupts information sharing. Warfighters need reliable, resilient satellite communications (SATCOM) to keep critical data moving across the battlespace. That is why Viasat is committed to delivering solutions that support multi-network, Automated PACE (A - Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency) plan performance, enabling military users to communicate – at any time, in any situation, and in any place.

This past April, Viasat achieved another significant milestone in proving its A-PACE capabilities by demonstrating our Hybrid SATCOM Approach (HSA) solution to multiple customers during a ground demonstration at a facility near Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Our open-architecture and industry standard ARINC 791 HSA solution displayed how we are leveraging proven Viasat innovations to deliver Automated PACE plan requirements and meet Air Force objectives to have 25 percent of the mobility fleet connected by 2025 – known as the “25 by 25” goal.

The HSA solution features Viasat’s GAT-5530 Ku/Ka broadband antenna, which allows access to the entire Ku- and Ka-band spectrum, including 3.5GHz of commercial and military Ka-band. The antenna connects to medium Earth orbit (MEO), geostationary orbit (GEO) and highly elliptical orbit (HEO) polar networks and is certifiable for operation on the military Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) network. For the demonstration, Viasat also connected to a proliferated low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation terminal for commercial Ku-band services, commercial LTE, and Viasat’s L-Band terminal for contingency communications over the Viasat global L-band network.

“The recent demonstration is an exciting example of how a hybrid capability can be delivered today. Our team showed how the HSA solution establishes LTE, L-band, Ku-band and Ka-band access – with seamless multi-vendor network and multi-orbit connectivity,” said Vic Farah, senior vice president, Viasat Government. “This integrated antenna solution combined Technology Readiness Level 9 (TRL-9) capabilities, with equipment that is proven on Air Force platforms and currently available for operational use.”

By utilizing existing commercial capabilities, Viasat’s HSA solution can rapidly be adopted to meet the Air Force “25 by 25” objective. In a September interview, Gen. Mike Minihan, Commander of Air Mobility Command, said the improvement of the connectivity between mobility air and ground crews represent the best investment that the Air Force can make for Pacific region-based operations. Such connectivity will require radios, satellites and additional devices for communications both within and beyond-line-of-sight, with the ability to relay classified and unclassified information and support layers of redundancy.

“I’m proud that our team continues to leverage and integrate the best available commercial technologies to support end users. The hybrid approach has become table-stakes for missions demanding high levels of reliability, resilience, and performance in contested environments,” Farah continued.

As part of the demonstration, Viasat’s team used multiple scenarios to illustrate how the Automated PACE communications operates. The team simulated sending sensitive traffic across multiple networks at the same time using NetAgility, Viasat’s advanced software-defined network orchestration solution.

“We simulated different network disruptions and cyber-attack situations to demonstrate the automated, intelligent routing response provided through NetAgility without human intervention,” said Joe Johnson, vice president of broadband solutions for Viasat Government. “Our advanced network orchestration capability demonstrated Automated PACE communications in action, immediately redirecting the targeted traffic from a disconnected primary link to another available, primary network with minimal impact on user communications. The team also demonstrated resiliency by disconnecting both primary network links to show the automatic rollover of traffic to the contingency L-band network service.”

This customer demonstration illustrates Viasat’s commitment to delivering interoperability and optionality with a hybrid solution that enables operation on the best available SATCOM network—GEO, MEO or LEO – for operations and mission needs. This kind of SATCOM capability is at the center of the DoD and USSF commercial space strategies. There is a clear need for redundant and resilient communications that effectively support the warfighter and serve as a deterrent to adversaries who attempt to disrupt critical communications by targeting a single system or network.

The Viasat HSA solution is an example of the commercially developed and scalable SATCOM capabilities available to counter such attempts with reliable and assured mission connectivity. Farah noted this also includes Viasat’s high-capacity, flexible next-generation satellites.

“Our latest GEO satellites will allow customers to concentrate and dynamically move capacity on demand where it’s needed most. This technical capability to shift away from large, fixed beam GEO coverage offers government users more tools to meet mission objectives. The integration of NGSO networks is part of expanding that toolset, increasing resilience, and enabling low latency connectivity for specific mission applications,” said Farah.

Viasat Government is dedicated to delivering a hybrid SATCOM architecture to the U.S. Air Force and the DoD as they pursue “always on” connectivity at any time, in any situation, and in any place.

If you would like to learn more about Viasat’s flexible SATCOM solutions, please visit our website or contact us for additional HSA solution details.