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NORTHCOM Blasts Satellite Signal Through Concrete


Jan. 5, 2012


The recent Arizona Vigilant Guard exercise involved approximately 250 government agencies and 8,000 participants responding to simulated flooding and an improvised nuclear device detonation in the Phoenix metropolitan area. In response, NORTHCOM 302 Airlift Wing, Communications Flight deployed their trailer based Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC) Teams. These teams were tasked with providing satellite based reachback communications, however the concrete and rebar building construction blocked signal transmission to the Joint Operations Center(JOC). Deployment of their recently delivered SATPAK cellular and satellite data relay center, manufactured by 308 SYSTEMS solved this urgent need. The JISCC Teams then relied upon the briefcase sized SATPAK to provide a high-bandwidth wireless pipe from the JISCC satellite location into the JOC, along with a 21Gbps cellular data backup connection. This ultra-agile system improved the efficiency of critical Vigilant Guard Internet connections and CONUS data networks during the exercise.


The Vigilant Guard exercise, sponsored by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, is designed to ensure effective coordination between local, state, private sector, non-governmental organizations and federal partners. The JOC was established inside a building at the Papago Park Military Reservation, and could not receive satellite signals directly inside the facility due to the concrete and rebar facility construction. To relay the JISCC satellite signal into the non-Line-Of-Sight(nLOS) JOC location, NORTHCOM deployed their SATPAK Ultra-Agile satellite and cellular data relay center. In addition to the local JISCC-to-JOC data pipe, the innovative SATPAK was capable of projecting Internet data connections with deployed teams up to 3 miles from the JISCC trailer, thereby increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of deployed troop assets.