First Networked Capability Set Is Fielded
The U.S. Army, through its System of Systems Integration Directorate, announced that the first fielding of Capability Set 13 has begun new equipment training with two brigade combat teams of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Capability Set 13, or CS 13, is the first fully-integrated package of radios, satellite systems, software applications, smartphone-like devices and other network components that provide an integrated connectivity from the static tactical operations center to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted Soldier.
CS 13 marks the first time the Army is delivering network systems as an integrated communications package that spans the entire Brigade Combat Team formation.
New equipment training for the 3rd and 4th Brigade Combat Teams, known as BCTs, of the 10th Mountain Division, located at Fort Drum and Fort Polk, respectively, is already underway. Prior to deploying with CS 13 assets, both units will undergo several months of rigorous classroom courses and hands-on experience with the systems.
These guys have been to Afghanistan and they know what this capability is going to have to do in combat, said Col. Walter E. Piatt, 10th Mountain Divisions deputy commanding general for support. So who better to get the latest equipment than the 10th Mountain Division?
CS 13 is ideal for missions in austere environments such as Afghanistan because it provides mobile mission command to all echelons of the BCT.
As U.S. forces continue to draw down in Afghanistan they will turn over many of their Forward Operating Bases and other infrastructure to the local forces, gradually losing fixed network infrastructure locations. CS 13 systems provide mobile satellite and robust radio capability for commanders and Soldiers to take the network with them in vehicles and while dismounted as they conduct combat and security assistance missions. This mobile network greatly reduces the reliance fixed infrastructure
CS 13 is anchored by two major upgrades: Mission command on the move, allowing commanders to take the network with them in their vehicles; and bringing dismounted Soldiers into the network, empowering ground troops with a new level of real-time information.
Inside mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicles (MRAPs), configured with components of CS 13, commanders will be able to exchange information and execute mission command using mobile communications technologies, rather than having to rely on a fixed infrastructure.
Both brigade combat teams will continue to receive CS 13 equipment in incremental phases over the next several months prior to beginning collective training with the entire capability set.
Story by Katie Cain, System of Systems Integration Directorate
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A new multi-million dollar Federal Government contract for an Australian and international satellite communications system has been awarded to diversified locally-based company, Hills Holdings Ltd.
The four-year contract is for the design, supply and installation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trades (DFAT) bandwidth efficient global satellite network for 51 Australian Embassies and other DFAT offices around the world and for the continuing support for DFATs high security satellite communication requirements.
STEP Electronicspart of the Hills Holdings Groups expanding Electronics and Communications divisionwon the contract following a competitive tender process involving at least a dozen businesses, including many of STEPs major industry competitors.
STEP Electronics also holds significant contracts with Telstra and Optus, among others, for both supply and installation of satellite systems.
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A Weather Win
The U.S. Air Force has awarded the Raytheon Company an $11.5 million contract to enhance the Weather Data Analysis (WDA) system.
The modernized system is expected to deliver significant efficiencies and improve weather forecast analysis capabilities, enabling warfighters to make critical mission decisions.
Enhancing WDA will deliver advanced capabilities to the Air Force, enabling the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) to process and disseminate data from next generation meteorological satellites more efficiently, significantly reducing sustainment costs, said James Olson, director of Space and Environmental Mission Solutions for Raytheons Intelligence and Information Systems business.
The contract will upgrade the current meteorological satellite capability and legacy systems at AFWA, improving the agencys analysis capabilities.
Modernizing the system with new hardware and open source database and application servers will expand the weather centers shared data environment, allowing the agency to maximize and distribute data collected by next generation weather satellites, including Suomi NPP and JPSS-1 and 2.
WDA is central to AFWAs global system architecture and is a major weather data and product contributor to the Air Force Weather enterprise. Enhancements delivered under Increment 4, Build B will provide a net-centric infrastructure capable of assimilating global sources of weather data to produce real-time information to warfighters.
Through greater interoperability with command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, warfighters will gain access to critical environmental and situational awareness intelligence, enhancing their competitive advantage in the battlespace.
In March 2003, under contract to the U.S. Air Force, Raytheon developed the initial WDA capabilities on the Increment 2 program. Subsequently, Raytheon completed Increment 3 and Increment 4, Build A to expand the systems capabilities. With the latest contract, Raytheon will leverage 40 years of expertise and proven performance in collecting, analyzing and delivering critical, actionable weather information to support mission success.
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Suomi NPP Celebration
On October 28, 2011, the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite successfully blasted into orbit in a spectacular night launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Now, Suomi NPP has orbited the Earth more than 5,000 times and begun returning images and data that provide critical weather and climate measurements of the complex Earth system.
The Suomi NPP flight and ground teams have spent the first year making sure the spacecraft, instruments and data products are working well. As the instruments and data products have successfully checked out, the data go out to users, says James Gleason, Suomi NPP project scientist at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
These data help us improve our computer models that predict future environmental conditions, Gleason added. Better predictions let us make better decisions, whether it is as simple as taking an umbrella to work today or as complex as responding to a changing climate.
Suomi NPP observes Earths surface twice every day, once in daylight and once at night. The spacecraft flies 512 miles (824 kilometers) above the surface in a polar orbit, circling the planet about 14 times a day. Suomi NPP sends its data once an orbit to the ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to local direct broadcast users.
Named for satellite meteorology pioneer Verner Suomi, the Suomi NPP mission is managed by NASA with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) providing operational support and NOAAs Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) managing the satellites ground system.
What makes Suomi NPP such a powerful tool is the wide range of important observations it makes with its five instruments. These instruments send back data that allow scientists to see the entire globe from space and further understand oceans, clouds, ozone, snow, ice, vegetation and atmosphere. Suomi NPPs five instruments include:
Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS)
Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)
Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS)
Clouds and the Earths Radiant Energy System (CERES)
This year, VIIRS left the world in awe with a spectacular composite image of our planet that became known as the blue marble, OMPS took its first measurements of the annual ozone hole, ATMS data are now being used to make weather forecasts, and CrIS data are just about ready to be used in weather forecasts.
The CERES data are being matched to that of its sibling instruments on NASAs Earth Observing System satellites Terra and Aqua with the goal of understanding clouds and the Earths energy balance.
This fully functional satellite bridges more than a decade of observations by NASA satellitesNASAs Earth Observing Systemto the next generation of U.S. Earth-observing satellitesJPSS.
JPSS, currently under development, is building on the success of Suomi NPP and will provide critical observations for accurate weather forecasting, reliable severe storm outlooks, and climate science, including global measurements of atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial conditions such as sea surface temperatures, ozone, vegetation, and more.
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Another Important Project Completed
The Armys current tactical communications wide area network backbone, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, Increment 1, hit a major milestone when it celebrated the final fielding of the last unit identified to receive the system.
Because of WIN-T Increment 1, we are a more capable and lethal force, said Col. Ed Swanson, project manager, or PM, for WIN-T, which is assigned to the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, known as PEO C3T.
Increment 1 was a key component to modularity and the Armys transition to a brigade combat team-centric force. It enabled the autonomous operations of [brigade combat teams] by providing beyond-line-of-sight capabilities and supported secure and unsecured data, voice and video communications to the battalion level.
Increment 1 has supported the full range of military operation in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom since 2004.
The fielding completion of WIN-T Increment 1 also sets the stage for the onset of WIN-T Increments 2 and 3 of the Armys tactical communications network, which will provide the initial and full on-the-move network communications capability to the Army.
The milestone was marked with the hand-off of the last WIN-T Increment 1 system to a unit, providing for the first time a WIN-T Increment 1-equipped force across the entire Army. To commemorate the event, a ceremony was recently held at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Many of the organizations current and past leaders were among those who paid tribute to the accomplishment and to the system that provides critical communication capabilities to Soldiers on the battlefield.
Similar to a home Internet connection, WIN-T Increment 1, formerly known as the Joint Network Node, or JNN, Network, began fielding in 2004 to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It provides Soldiers with high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications down to battalion level units, at-the-quick-halt.
In just eight years, the Product Manager, or PdM, WIN-T Increment 1 fielded the entire Army with five Regional Hub Nodes, 18 Unit Hub Nodes,36 Unit Hub Satellite Communications, known as SATCOM, Trucks, 415 JNNs, 1422 Battalion Command Post Nodes, 1837 Satellite Transportable Terminals and 48 Single Shelter Switches.
This is one of the those historic times in a PM when you can take a step back, take a knee and highlight one of the great milestones of a program, said Lt. Col. Greg Coile, PdM for WIN-T Increment 1 and PdM Satellite Communications.
With WIN-T Increment 1 in hand, Soldiers can reliably execute networked mission command at a faster pace, in conjunction with joint and coalition forces, across greater distances and over terrain obstacles that once blocked vital communication signals. This capability dramatically changed the way we fight on the battlefield. I thank the WIN-T Increment 1 and SATCOM team for their dedication and selfless service to deliver this capability.
Military operations in Desert Storm in 1992, as well as Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, revealed inadequacies in the Mobile Subscriber Equipment, or MSE, communications system to support highly mobile and dispersed forces in a digital environment.
Before the widespread availability of satellite communications technology, battlefield communications required the installation and maintenance of relay towers and cables, limiting range and flexibility of mission support. The outdated MSE could no longer keep up with the pace of battle. WIN-T was conceived to solve this problem and to enable mobile mission command on the battlefield.
As an outgrowth of a 3rd Infantry Division Operational Needs Statement, a process that allows urgent requests from theater for equipment to be identified and rapidly fielded, the JNN network was developed to bridge the gap between the outdated MSE communications system and the full on-the-move WIN-T network capability.
The Army, along with congressional assistance in the form of supplemental funding, shifted priority from WIN-T to JNN. As the result of a Nunn-McCurdy restructure in June 2007, the WIN-T program was organized into four separate Increments. The JNN program was integrated into WIN-T as Increment 1.
I dont think people truly realize the magnitude of the impact the WIN-T Increment 1 Product Office has had on the Army, said Col. Chuck Hoppe, former PM for WIN-T and current military deputy director for the Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center. It has touched every combat fighting team that has rotated into and out of theater, every time they have rotated. It fielded the entire Army in eight years. Phenomenal.
PdM WIN-T Increment 1 also completed the WIN-T Increment 1a upgrade in September, which establishes a common baseline across the force. Army units originally fielded with the early JNN network were upgraded to a common baseline. The upgrade provides newer technology for increased capability, a longer equipment life cycle and more efficient technology refreshments.
It is amazing to think about this program office and the enormity of the impact it had and continues to have on the network and in supporting overseas contingency operations, said Col. Ray Compton, former PdM for WIN-T Increment 1 and current military deputy for Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.
This upgrade encompasses all WIN-T Increment 1 units and should be completed in FY 2016. The new upgrade increases interoperability with the second generation of the Armys tactical network, WIN-T Increment 2 and improves network security/efficiency.
Meanwhile, WIN-T Increment 2 completed its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in May and is a critical part of Capability Set 13an integrated baseline of network technologies that began fielding to Army brigade combat teams in early October.
WIN-T Increment 2 supports operations while on-the-move, introduces networking radios, enhances Network Operations (NetOps) for network planning and monitoring and pushes capability down to the company level.
Development and testing continues on WIN-T Increment 3, which will add new capabilities and mature previously fielded Increment 2 capabilities to realize a full on-the-move tactical network for the Army. WIN-T Increment 3 will add an air tier to the WIN-T architecture to offload communications from satellite transponders, while increasing network speed and reliability.
WIN-T Increment 3 will also provide the Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JC4ISR) radio, which makes great strides in improving throughput capacity and extending communications ranges. Improvements in NetOps will also be realized with WIN-T Increment 3.
WIN-T Increment 1 laid the foundation for the Armys future network, Swanson said. And that network will allow for a more modular, flexible force to fight anywhere in world. By having the capability to act swiftly and with greater precision and speed, unencumbered by geographical topography, networked commanders will have a tremendous affect on the outcome of future battlefield operations.
Story by Amy Walker, PEO C3T
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SATCOM TRAINING FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Soldiers with the South Dakota Army National Guards 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment trained on state-of-the-art satellite equipment at Camp Rapid in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
The Defense Video and Imagery Distribution Systems mobile satellite, known as DVIDS Direct, will give the unit, made up of journalists and broadcasters, the capability of providing U.S. news media with real-time broadcast-quality video, photography and print products.
The unit could broadcast high-profile events live, said Donovan Hill, a support engineer with NORSAT Inc., who provided the training. DVIDS Direct was used in the spring of 2012 to feed video of the presidents address from Bagram Airfield.
This technology allows television or radio stations the opportunity to interview soldiers from their community, live on-the-air, said Army Sgt. 1st Class Theanne Tangen, operations noncommissioned officer. The system will also provide our unit internet capabilities.
The training focused on introducing members of the 129th to satellite terminology and the technical aspect of satellite news gathering.
The unit has not used satellite systems prior to the training, so we were shown everything from setting up the satellite dishes, to operating the software and transmitting video, Tangen said. We went through the entire process enough times that were confident in our abilities and look forward to using the technology overseas to help us reach an even bigger audience.
The 129th will add two DVIDS Direct systems to their inventory, which will be used in Afghanistan and when they return home. DVIDS Direct will let us distribute our products immediately to media outlets worldwide, whether we are in South America covering stories on our State Partnership Program or here in South Dakota reporting on the National Guards role in statewide emergencies like the Missouri River Flood, said Army Sgt. Jacqueline Fitzgerald, broadcast noncommissioned officer.
This technology will enhance our ability to provide media with reliable access to all branches of the U.S. armed forces and coalition partners serving overseas, Tangen said. It also helps us fulfill the militarys obligation to provide maximum disclosure of information with minimum delay.
Story by Army Spc. Manda Walters, 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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Risk Reduction For Comms + Moving on Up
Northrop Grumman Corp. and the U.S. Air Forces Space and Missile Systems Center will demonstrate ways to make future protected military satellite communications capabilities more affordable with three awards received September 28th under the Protected Military Satellite Communication Design for Affordability Risk Reduction initiative.
Under the 10-month, firm fixed-price contracts, the company will:
Develop an unclassified, government-owned waveform specification and demonstrate its feasibility through component- level demonstrations.
Design and demonstrate a space/ground modem at the component level through analyses, software simulations, waveform implementation and a hardware demonstration.
Demonstrate gateway affordability by using commercial-off-the-shelf components combined with software emulation. The demonstration also will show the ability to interface with a mission management system, integration into an information assurance architecture, as well as other key gateway functions and capabilities.
Additionally, the Company has appointed Chris Yamada vice president of its Aerospace Products organization.
In this role, Yamada will be responsible for the newly established organization, offering technology products from Northrop Grummans Aerospace Systems sector to broader markets and customers.
He will retain leadership of several of the companys wholly owned strategic business units, including Adaptive Optics Xinetics, Astro Aerospace, Cutting Edge Optronics, Microelectronic Products and Services, and SYNOPTICS.
Yamada joined the company in 1983 and held positions as general manager of affiliates, director of directed energy systems strategic business planning and president of TRW Astro Aerospace.
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NSR Analysis: European Defense Agency Award To ASTRIUM
The recent three-year contract awarded to Astrium Services by the European Defense Agency (EDA) for 2.3 million euros of commercial satellite capacity seems very small but still quite timely in a restrained budget environment.
However, how long will the window of opportunity last to sell bulk satellite capacity to government entities in Europe?
The climate of European defense over the past few months provides hope that a window of opportunity could lead to more deals like this for future ComSatCom in Europe.
With more than 20 military and civilian missions deployed over the past 10 years by members of the European Union, some governments view this record as a way to further strengthen the EU role beyond just managing the civilian side of conflicts and acting as a second fiddle to NATO.
Frances new Foreign Affairs Minister recently stated that the EUs security and defense cannot fall back on NATOs shoulder alone.
As the U.S. transitions its military focus to the Asia-Pacific region, he said that Europe must take greater responsibility for its security and act more autonomously across the spectrum of international security, when the U.S. is not interested in participating or leading operations such as in Libya.
The roadmap for this to happen consists in capacity-building, more cooperation, and pooling and sharing of resources, as reduced budgets take hold until a recovery is in sight.
The EDA contract is in that vein as it involves five countries that consider this expected savings a serious enough matter to buy and exchange capacity as a group. And at $3 million for three years, there is room to grow compared to commercial capacity leasing by EU member States, which stood at about one-tenth the U.S. level in 2010.
It is also peanuts compared to the overall European defence spending, which was just below 200 billion euros in 2011.
On the other hand, three of these countries have spent billions of euro on proprietary military satellites and terminals for years, so the envelope allocated is miniscule in comparison. Why would they then do this?
Perhaps the uncertainty in budgets is reason enough but with current budget pressures, we could see changes in these programs with more private-public partnerships where excess capacity could be sold commercially.
France (for one) is embarking on studies to find the best solution for its next-generation military satellites, and it has partnered with Italy for its Syracuse 3 military satellite system to save resources.
Underneath this austerity canvas, EDA was tasked with looking at programs that pool resources and increase cooperation to save close to 1 billion euros in European defense budgets.
Thus, synergies and more oversight of budgets in Europe can mean an opening for cheaper commercial capacity for defence.
NSR believes that for the short-term, the value proposition that offers an easy transition to improve performance in terms of capacity, bandwidth and equipment features will be highly-sought.
Still, a growing portion of users of satellite communications will continue to investigate and even migrate from C- and Ku-band to internal military capacity or higher frequencies (in particular X-band) due to the increasing bandwidth demand and the need for more secure communications.
And for some European defense ministries, such as Denmark, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, it is via partial funding of U.S. military satellites in the latter part of this decade that they will fulfill this need.
So, how much money and how big will the orders be for other EDA contracts?
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NEXT... Project With DoD
On schedule to begin launching in 2015, this is the largest commercial space program underway anywhere in the world.
Iridium Communications Inc. has been awarded a five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to upgrade the Defense Departments dedicated Iridium® gateway.
The IDIQ contract has a one-year base period and four one-year options, and has a maximum value of $47 million over the full five-year period.
Under the terms of the contract, Iridium will provide hardware, software and integration services to successfully upgrade the gateway and to ensure the gateways compatibility with Iridium NEXT, the companys next generation satellite constellation.
Scott Scheimreif, Iridiums acting executive vice president, government programs, said, We have been working together for many years, providing critical communications services to military installations and personnel around the world.
The upgrades we will make under this new agreement will ensure the DoDs ability to leverage the unique capabilities of Iridium NEXT and to improve and enhance communications capabilities for our warfighters well into the future.
On schedule to begin launching in 2015, Iridium NEXT is the largest commercial space program underway anywhere in the world.
Once fully operational, the constellation of 66 low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites and six in-orbit spares will extend Iridiums position as a critical communications partner for customers such as the DoD, as well as the Companys more than 275 commercial partners and consumers.