Viasat Australia and TrellisWare highlight new collaboration

Companies promote shared vision for Australia and New Zealand defence forces

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Viasat and TrellisWare’s booth at the MilCIS conference and expo in Canberra, Australia, which continues through Nov. 17.

Viasat and TrellisWare will promote their new collaborative approach at the Military Communications and Information Systems (MilCIS) conference and expo in Canberra, Australia between Nov. 15-17.

The companies first announced this strategic collaboration and vision for a holistic offering during the Oct. 4 Land Forces exhibition.

Together, Viasat and TrellisWare aim to offer the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) ‘best-of-breed’ resilient tactical communications solutions.

Viasat has a strong footprint in Australia and is currently part of the Boeing team bid for the ADF’s Joint Project 9102 Australian Defence Satellite Communications System.

However, the company’s alignment with TrellisWare opens up a variety of emerging opportunities to support land-based Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) in Australia and New Zealand, as well as the wider Oceania region.

Sandy Taylor, director of business development and sales for Viasat Australia, said the close collaboration with California-based TrellisWare will allow Viasat to “elaborate and explore a wide variety of opportunities” in both the Australian and New Zealand defence markets. Both companies bring substantial experience and technical expertise to the table.

“For 20 years, Viasat has been supporting the ADF with tactical communications capabilities, narrowband satellite communications, and the provision of strategic SATCOM services,” said Taylor.

“We’ve provided narrowband UHF and ground terminals for Joint Project 2008 and we’re also the incumbent provider of end user device security through our Mobile Dynamic Defense (MDD) solution,” said Taylor.

Darren Bradley, TrellisWare Technology’s Director of International Business Development, also reaffirmed this new, closer collaboration between the two companies for Australia and New Zealand.

“Looking at the opportunities in this region, there are many areas where TrellisWare and Viasat provide complementary capabilities that address urgent communications requirements in a more integrated way. This strategic collaboration enables this focus,” said Bradley.

Viasat Australia’s collaboration with TrellisWare anticipates offering the ADF and NZDF flexible, modular and turnkey connectivity solutions to satisfy even the most complex of C3 requirements in the land domain.

TrellisWare’s family of TSM Spirit™, TSM Shadow™, and TSM Ghost™ MANET radios can offer a more cost-effective solution in comparison to more “exquisite and expensive” software defined radios currently available on the market, Taylor said.

“The Australia army is investing in tactical dismounted communications and situation awareness tools. Together with TrellisWare, we are offering a more flexible, commercial off-the-shelf solution which can be tailored to meet specific requirements,” continued Taylor.

Additionally, Viasat is rapidly exploring a range of capabilities that will expand support of tactical communications, including things like body-worn soldier technology and free space optics. These types of solutions could combine with TrellisWare for a complementary capability with their specialized MANET waveforms and handheld radios.

“With the potential synergy in capability we could have that solution that goes from the soldier to the satellite,” Taylor said.

Next Steps

Ultimately, the goal for both companies is to create a synergistic offering of capabilities for customers in Australia with greater flexibility than current options.

Specific areas of interest for Viasat and TrellisWare include bringing forward solutions that can provide land forces with primary, alternate, contingency and emergency (PACE) communications, as well as enhanced reliability, security and redundancy of tactical communications.

In the first half of 2023, the ADF is expected to roll out a series of programs such as Land 200 Phase 3 among others that could benefit from these capabilities.

“We expect to see a variety of projects announced by the Australian Army,” Taylor said. “Our goal is to provide the ability to pick ‘best-of-breed’ solutions from a variety of capability sets as opposed to purchasing systems from a single vendor.”

The ADF is also demanding a sovereign capability and Viasat is already considering technology transfers as well as the establishment of a regional hub for tactical and strategic communications in Australia.

In New Zealand, Viasat and TrellisWare also plan to examine how they might support the NZDF’s Networked Enabled Communications (NEC) programme, which includes the Mobile Tactical Command System (MTCS).

Additional requirements for both the ADF and NZDF include enhanced levels in interoperability with other Five Eyes countries (includes Canada, UK and US in addition to Australia and New Zealand), NATO and regional coalition partners.

Viasat’s experience as an interoperability partner for Australia through tactical networks, in combination with TrellisWare’s waveforms could help to bring greater interoperability out to the tactical edge for ADF and NZDF forces.

Heading into MilCIS, the focus of conversation will be on how both companies can together help provide the warfighter with the tactical communications capability set(s) they need, and the flexibility required to turn that capability on and off for when it’s needed.

To learn more about the strategic collaboration between Viasat and TrellisWare, please visit our joint stand (#2) at the show.

You can also check out this overview video to see of how Viasat Australia can provide support to ADF operations.