Small form factor terminal solutions … Viasat terminals deliver low SWaP worldwide connectivity for U.S. Government users

September 11, 2023 Blog

(Intro: In our third blog in a series, we discuss how our solutions are enabling mission success for U.S. Government customers. Read part one and part two.)

Small SWAP terminals for UAS

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Since the U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) inception in December 2019, some common themes have emerged as the government consolidates its space communications initiatives. Across the Hybrid Space Architecture, Proliferated LEO and the National Space Architecture, there seems to be consensus on what is needed: the right mix between government and commercial space-based capabilities, resiliency, flexibility and affordability. Government and military operations require user terminals with reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) and high-throughput worldwide satellite communications (SATCOM) connectivity, especially for small-form factor platforms.

In December, for example, the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) and the USSF released a draft Performance Work Statement (PWS) for a Satellite Communications (SATCOM) as a Managed Service (SaaMS) Pilot. The announcement for the pilot listed the reduction of the physical SWaP footprint as a top consideration for “tailorable” terminals in addressing the question, “How can industry help?”

At Viasat, we are constantly focused on the user perspective, which results in high-performing, resilient, robust and secure satellite and ground networks, as well as low-profile user terminals that deliver two-way high throughput anywhere in the world. Examples of our recent terminal innovations include:

  • Our award-winning software-defined radio based LAISR (L-band Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) ultra-lightweight (ULW) user terminals for uncrewed platforms, drones and balloons are as light as 5 lbs. Enhanced LAISR establishes on-demand mobility and high-speed beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) forward and return connectivity as high as 10Mbps, as enabled by our ELERA seamless, worldwide L-band space and ground network.
  • Our award-winning GX LITE terminal is designed specifically for land expeditionary users, so they can leverage a highly efficient flat panel antenna to transmit and receive high bandwidth data rates over the Global Xpress Ka-band This terminal is airline carry-on, low SWaP and low cost. In addition, we ensure that this entire operation remains fully autonomous for our customers.
  • Our Ka-band Electronically Steerable Array (ESA) terminals provide a low-profile, power efficient antenna solution as well as agility to enable multi-orbit connectivity in commercial Ka and military Ka to meet various user requirements across air, land and sea.

Our U.S. Government customers are at the heart of our innovation. We consistently interact with them to ensure we understand their requirements and “wish list” of features and capabilities. We team with our value-added manufacturing partners to develop user terminals that are easily transportable and have a small-SWaP footprint. We realize that “smaller, better, faster” matters, and we invest significant time and resources toward this goal.

If you would like to discuss how we can partner with your agency, then please contact us.