The Marine Corps is looking to find a smaller, more portable system to replace its current expeditionary satellite terminal, with plans to test offerings later this year and field a new capability in fiscal year 2020.
Officials released a Request For Information on Friday to gauge industry’s ability to deliver a commercial-off-the-shelf satellite terminal for its Marine Corps Wideband Satellite Communication Terminal–Expeditionary (MCWST-E) program to replace the Very Small Aperture Terminal-Expeditionary (VSAT-E), manufactured by L3 Technologies [LLL] and PacStar.
“[MCWST-E] will provide a first-in initial communications capability to small teams and other operational elements where communications infrastructure is unavailable or unreliable, and as a redundant communication means in the case of a primary link failure,” officials wrote in the notice.
The new satellite terminal is expected to be modular, highly portable and add a Ka-band frequency to the VSAT-E’s current capacity to handle X and Ku-band frequencies.
Officials added MCWST-E will also need to be interoperable with current Marine Corps Time-Division Multiple-Access and Frequency-Division Multiple-Access satellite networks.
MCWST-E will initially be used to handle Geostationary Earth Orbit, with an objective requirement to handle Low-Earth and Medium-Earth Orbit.
Responses to the RFI are due by May 6 as the Marine Corps will gather industry input to inform a series of tests in late 2019.