Viasat brings connectivity services to U.S. Government maritime vessels

McFarland dredge boat outfitted with high-speed, secure broadband connection


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, made up of nearly 40,000 civilian and military personnel, is one of the world’s largest public engineering, design and construction management agencies. The organization plays a critical role in protecting and enhancing waterways to help strengthen the nation’s security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters.

Among other responsibilities, the Army Corps of Engineers oversees protection and improvement of canals in the United States. The Army Corps often uses a process called dredging — the excavation of material and debris from canals — to improve existing water features; reshape land to alter water drainage, navigability and commercial use; construct dams; and recover mineral deposits.

To complete its mission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers relies on a high-speed, secure and resilient broadband network connection for everything from sending daily emails to sharing critical information about current projects. The McFarland, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging vessel, is one of the first ships in the organization that’s equipped for access to satellite-enabled broadband internet.

Previously, the McFarland dredger’s broadband network couldn’t handle the amount of data needed to complete daily tasks. Basic email applications wouldn’t load; accounting software constantly crashed; software patches brought down the entire network; and the crew often found itself completely disconnected.

Viasat upgrade

The McFarland team needed a change, and Viasat was up to the challenge. Today, Viasat is bringing the McFarland new satellite-enabled capabilities needed to execute its mission. Some of the key improvements include a nearly 20 percent increase in broadband speed, secure access to accounting, communications and email applications as well as significantly enhanced performance when compared to legacy services.

“Viasat’s team is a group of individuals who are dedicated to their work, professionalism, and customer care,” said McFarland Captain Stan Kostka. “During our install aboard the ship, Viasat worked safely and efficiently to make sure we were up and running with almost no interruption. The performance of the system has been a great improvement and a great solution for our vessel.”

The maritime connectivity system utilizes a new Viasat-enabled version of the proven SAILOR 900 stabilized antenna system, manufactured by Cobham SATCOM, to connect to the company’s high capacity Ka-band satellites.

By pairing one of Viasat’s new maritime connectivity systems with the company’s high-capacity satellites, ships are now able to receive dedicated bandwidth to support real-time communications needs. The company is also transitioning existing maritime customers to Viasat’s Ka-band high-throughput satellite network, which delivers enhanced performance at a significantly lower cost to the end user.

Learn more about Viasat’s connectivity systems for government maritime users.

Learn more about Viasat’s connectivity systems for consumer maritime users.