Armor & Mobility

SEP-OCT 2016

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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Page 26 of 47

CHANGING COMMS WITH TACTICAL RESILIENCY By Dan Losada, Sr. Director, Defense & Intelligence Systems, Hughes Network Systems, Inc. Communications play a key role in the U.S. military's global reach and responsiveness. This is especially important at the tactical level, where smaller units need to stay connected to installations hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Beyond-line-of-sight satellite communications (SATCOM) forms a significant link to the U.S. Army's tactical networks and existing capabilities including the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T). These advanced space-based capabilities allow widely dispersed forces to maintain situational awareness through secure, integrated, video and data connectivity. Mission needs are always evolving, often faster than existing dedicated military systems and equipment can be modified or developed to keep up. However, innovative and agile commercial satellite technologies can be quickly deployed to help the Army and the Department of Defense (DoD) as focus and strategies change. Commercial systems use more flexible advanced technology to provide a variety of capabilities, such as ultra-lightweight SATCOM terminals that can be rapidly integrated into existing networks such as WIN-T using government or commercial satellites. Above all, these commercial systems provide Army tactical communications with the added degree of resiliency needed for operations in today's chaotic and contested environments. Contested-proof Comms The DoD sees the urgency of creating more robust resilience in communications to withstand existing vulnerabilities. Adding this critical element to military resources will allow warfighters in the field to focus on their mission, rather than worry about whether their communications network will maintain functionality throughout the operation. Commercial satellite service and technology providers such as Hughes understand this need for heightening resiliency, and more specifically, in anti-access and area denial (A2AD) environments to counter possible threats. Hughes incorporates various methods to help maintain network resiliency, including flexible modem interfaces, advanced protected waveforms, wideband frequency hopping, and secure management systems. In addition, commercial software and equipment play a significant part in ensuring new levels of resilience. These technologies consistently include security protocols that closely follow or exceed U.S. government networking standards. The SATCOM network equipment and software all work as a unified system, and forms a secure and rugged ground infrastructure that links to the space segment via protected waveforms. One of these highly advanced and flexible waveforms developed by Hughes, the Scrambled Code Multiple Access (SCMA) Waveform, is a vital part of the emerging tactical communications capability that can support DoD-wide resiliency anywhere in the communications network. The core waveform for Hughes' new family of lightweight tactical terminals, SCMA, is based on very low-rate coding and new multiple access techniques. The waveform works independently of the selected frequency band, such as Ku-, Ka-, and X-band, strengthening the operational flexibility and creating more appeal to the warfighter community. SCMA also operates under the communications noise floor, making it difficult for adversaries to even detect it for spectral analysis. Variable code rates, modulation, and spreading factors allow the terminals using SCMA to flexibly trade between throughput and bandwidth against power and anti-jamming capabilities. The SCMA waveform is synchronized to support reliable and assured operation in very adverse noise and jamming environments. Besides having the capability to run frequency-hopping functions to increase bandwidth, SCMA also includes Upper Layer Protocol Enhancement protection against pulse jamming and other disruptions. The combination of these capabilities provides the waveform with inherent low probability of detection and interception as well as natural anti-jamming characteristics. These elements support easy integration and consistent operation against adversarial threats. Running the SCMA waveform, the new Hughes HM series products are rugged, easy to operate systems. These systems can be deployed in a variety of operational environments and on multiple platforms that support expeditionary and other first entry groups, enabling situational awareness and ISR gathering. The DoD is looking for more mobile and portable satellite communications equipment that can provide affordable and resilient connectivity to assure bandwidth availability on demand. Hughes is filling these communications gaps with new, innovative hardware that leverages software-defined modem technology paired with the SCMA waveform to bring a new level of tactical resiliency to the front lines. Evolving to Meet New Missions Protecting today's national security requires many different strategies that vary greatly from those in past conflicts. The current contested environments and increasingly aggressive adversaries have caused the DoD to embrace various emerging technologies that ensure robust and resilient systems that support mission success in every environment. Technology like this is now coming from newer, emerging defense companies and should be actively welcomed by the DoD to ensure dominant strategic power for the U.S. and its Allies. Every year commercial industry is bringing new solutions with more affordable, secure and resilient capabilities that help keep warfighters aware and connected anywhere on the planet. The DoD should make it as easy as possible to test and acquire this new technology given the rapidly changing landscape of today's global conflicts. September/October 2016 | Armor & Mobility | 25 INDUSTRY COMMUNICATOR

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