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ViaSat Selected by US Army to supply next generation Blue Force Tracking

22nd July 2010 - 10:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


ViaSat Inc. has received a $477 million IDIQ contract to supply the next generation of high speed, high capacity, low latency Blue Force Tracking (BFT) equipment to the US Army as part of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Program. In addition to being selected as the provider for this faster and more accurate command and control satellite communication system, ViaSat also received the first delivery order for $37.7 million to fund deliveries of first article and initial production terminals and other ground networking equipment.

Armed forces use BFT to view regularly updated troop positions on screens in vehicles and aircraft to differentiate between friendly and enemy forces. These awards signal the transition of the BFT program from a proprietary network to BFT-2, an open IP-standard communication network.

Previously, ViaSat had delivered prototype second generation BFT-2 terminals under contract to Northrop Grumman and then a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) award from the US Army for system testing. The units met network capacity requirements and demonstrated data throughput that far exceeded specifications. The efficiency gain and latency reduction improve situational awareness and accuracy, and enable satellite channels to accommodate more simultaneous users and messages.

A variety of equipment and services are included in the new BFT-2 awards:
-- Small BFT-2 satellite terminals for a variety of ground vehicles and
small aircraft
-- Hub equipment for high-speed two-way access to ground and airborne
-- Network Operations Center (NOC) equipment for overall network
monitoring and control
-- Backbone network to connect all FBCB2 NOCs into a single network for
worldwide interoperability
-- Integration with FBCB2 software
-- Engineering services in support of the BFT-2 network

The new BFT-2 system is derived from ViaSat ArcLight mobile satellite communication technology, which enables fast, efficient network access using very small antennas. The ArcLight system provides broadband communications-on-the-move (COTM) service to multiple customer classes, including the ViaSat Yonder(SM) Mobile Broadband service featuring near global coverage. Applications include Internet access, VoIP, and video for private business jets; crew and passenger broadband access for commercial and private maritime vessels through the KVH mini-VSAT Broadband(SM) service; maritime security operations by the US Coast Guard; and real time video feeds from ISR aircraft.

Source: ViaSat

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