Automated multi-orbit and multi-network switching may bolster U.S. and allied military communications in crises in which adversaries attempt to jam such communications and in geographical areas that encounter signal disruptions.
Allowing such communications resilience for U.S. military aircraft and drones and ground operators was the aim of a recent demonstration by Honeywell [HON], SES, and Hughes.
The companies said on Dec. 20 that airborne demonstrations used Honeywell’s JetWave MCX terminal with a Hughes HM-series modem, paired with SES satellites in Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) and Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).
The tests demonstrated GEO/MEO dynamic link switching with connections moving between links in under 30 seconds, the companies said. The demonstrations showed the JetWave MCX terminal met military communication resilience requirements called PACE (primary alternate contingency and emergency). SES’ MEO constellation provided lower latency with full duplex data rates of more than 40 megabits per second, the companies said.
SES said that its multiorbit network has more than 70 GEO and O3b MEO satellites.
SES said that its second-generation MEO system, O3b mPOWER, “will deliver unprecedented throughput with increased flexibility to adjust forward and return link data ratios securely.”
“This makes it a game-changer for today’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions that rely on real-time information exchange and analysis of sensitive mission data,” per SES. “When operational in 2022, O3b mPOWER will be capable of delivering from tens of megabits to multiple gigabits per second to support government applications in any location.”
“To switch using the Hughes HM series system, the steps above are done autonomously,” the company said. “The switching of the signal this way or the manual way takes about the same time, but all of the other steps must be done first.”
Steven Williams, the vice president of Defense Americas for Honeywell Aerospace, said in a statement that “the ability to give network choices to operators using our agnostic terminal means the customer can choose the best network for the mission and geographic region.”