Microwave Journal

Viasat to Upgrade NATO UHF SATCOM Control Stations to Next-Generation IW

January 4, 2018

Viasat Inc. announced a contract award to upgrade the NATO UHF satellite communications (SATCOM) control stations to comply with the Integrated Waveform (IW) baseline. The upgrade gives NATO greater communications interoperability, scalability and flexibility across legacy and next-generation platforms, enhancing situational awareness as the battlespace dynamically expands.

As part of this award, NATO will upgrade its legacy UHF communications network to Viasat's Visual Integrated SATCOM Information, Operation and Networking (VISION) planning and network management platform, the first commercially-available software package to simultaneously support all 25 kHz legacy demand-assigned multiple-access (DAMA) and next-generation IW networks and services.

The Viasat VISION platform gives network operators real-time capabilities to reconfigure UHF satellite networks to meet new mission profiles on-the-fly. By enabling interoperability between DAMA and IW platforms, NATO can double its channel efficiency without additional investment in the UHF space segment. This optimization doubles the number of users, giving more warfighters access to reliable, high quality, resilient voice and data communications.

Viasat's platform provides a single, user-friendly network management interface for legacy DAMA and IW services, including the ability to locally or remotely manage and control ground station networks, monitor status and system performance, track event/alarm management situations and add/remove services when missions change.

Giovanni Battista Durando, owner of NATO's Communications and Information Agency, Network Services and IT Infrastructure, Satcom Service Area, said “Networked forces need to be able to receive and execute orders dynamically in the fog of war. With the Viasat VISION platform, we can use our UHF space segment more efficiently, as it more than doubles our existing UHF user access. We believe the Viasat VISION platform will give NATO network operators more control over communications stations from a single terminal, simplifying operations and offering multi-site flexibility to ultimately increase the network readiness of the warfighter.”

Ken Peterman, president of the government systems segment at Viasat, said, “Frontline warfighters need assured, reliable, real-time communications in order to safely execute their missions, especially at the tactical edge. Viasat is a global leader in UHF channel control capabilities. Our innovative VISION platform leverages Viasat's decades of UHF SATCOM expertise to enable cost-effective, scalable, interoperable UHF bandwidth from multiple NATO partner nations to support dynamic mission requirements — all without the need for a costly user radio replacement."