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Viasat delivering Link 16-capable LEO to USAF

4th June 2019 - 12:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


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Viasat announced that it will develop a new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite to for the US armed forces as part of a new military programme on 22 May.

Designed to provide secure global communications, the satellite is being developed for Link 16 – a tactical communications network intended for high-speed communications between military forces working in tandem. While Link 16 has so far been limited to line-of-sight communication, Viasat’s has stated that it is confident that their satellite will overcome this issue. 

The satellite will fit Viasat’s Hybrid Adaptive Network (HAN) architecture, which means that services will work across both government and commercial satellite networks. This will make the beyond line of sight Link 16 resilient against network congestion, cyber threats, and other types of intentional and unintentional interference. 

The company was contracted under the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicle XVI programme. As a result, Viasat will be the first company to prototype and test space-based Link 16 capabilities compatible with the US armed forces, such as ground vehicles, aircraft, naval vessels and dismounted users. 

‘The XVI award highlights Viasat technology leadership in Link 16 and space-borne tactical communications,’ said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat, adding that the company was in a 'unique position' to meet the US DoD's need for cost-effective, spaced-based Link 16 solutions.

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