Next-gen battlefield connectivity the aim of antenna testing by U.S. militaryNews
September 24, 2020
RESTON, Va. and READING, U.K. SES Government Solutions (SES GS -- a fully-owned affiliate of SES) and broadband terminal company Isotropic Systems have signed a two-phased antenna evaluation contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), working together with the U.S. Army Research Engineering Team, to test the Isotropic Systems multibeam terminal over SES’s O3b medium Earth orbit (MEO) constellation; it is hoped that the results of the test will lead to implementation of next-generation connectivity across the battlefield.
Under the terms of the contract, the U.S. Air Force and Army -- under the auspices of the innovative Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program -- will review a prototype of Isotropic Systems’ optical beamforming antenna and its ability to connect simultaneously with two satellite constellations at geostationary orbit (GEO) and MEO. The optical antenna's multibeam function will enable the armed forces to deliver data at the tactical edge by leveraging capacity from multiple commercial satellites and a military satellite over a single antenna platform.
First phase over-the-air (OTA) testing is expected to be done by early fall 2020; phase two of the contract will see the Isotropic Systems optical lens technology used to demonstrate a two full-performance beam connection, during which one beam will link with an SES GEO satellite, while another full-performance optical beam will establish a simultaneous connection with SES’s O3b MEO satellite constellation.