Communications-on-the-Move Program Seeks to Save Lives
The answer comes in a smaller, distributed SATCOM array from Harris’ Distributed Aperture Program.
When setting out on warzone missions, every convoy requires at least one armored vehicle to be equipped with satellite communications for essential battlefield situational awareness. In areas where terrain can limit the availability of communications, it is imperative that armored battalions maintain reliable access to mission critical information.
The challenge: How can the Army improve connectivity for essential command communications? The answer comes in a smaller, distributed SATCOM array from Harris’ Distributed Aperture Program. The Harris team has developed a system that uses several small antennas that are capable of replacing the often bulky and difficult to integrate antennas used today. This delivers communications-on-the-move system that increases functionality of the communications command vehicle with new options for picking up satellite signals as signals will have more access points should one be obstructed.
Advantages in battle are also found, as the system offers more resilient communications. This new system replaces a single bulky dome, by incorporating four low-profile phased array antennas. These antennas are much smaller than the traditional units and offer multiple points of connection while also blending into their surroundings. Even if several of those are blocked or damaged, warfighters can maintain connectivity with the remaining antennas.
Brennan Landreville, the Distributed Aperture Program Manager, is enthusiastic about the deployment of this new technology. “It’s so cutting-edge and unique,” said Landreville. “Our system is less vulnerable to disruptions or blockage and it does not hinder the operations of a vehicle itself. It is really a win-win for customers.”
The distributed aperture system not only lowers the profile of the SATCOM array, it also is easier to install on a wide range of vehicles from tanks to Strikers to HMMWVs. The system does not need major alterations to be mounted; instead it may be possible to integrate into the existing structures to avoid weakening armor. This flexibility also offers the possibility of using the system on rotary platforms.
This system is part of the next generation of communications, designed to deliver troops greater functionality in contested environments. The Distributed Aperture Program is a prime example of Harris’ commitment to combining fresh thinking with proven technology to deliver innovative results.