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 TCS, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin Team to Produce Affordable Satellite Terminals for Protected Communications

26 September , 2012


TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.  Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin have teamed to produce highly affordable satellite terminals for protected communications on the move and at the halt.

The Low Cost Terminal (LCT) solution addresses the military's need for lower cost technologies and systems to enable protected and secure communications for tactical warfighters in theater. The three companies are operating under a collaborative agreement signed earlier this year for TCS to manufacture, market and sell LCT products under license from Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

The Team
The LCT solution takes advantage of Northrop Grumman's and Lockheed Martin's proven knowledge and engineering experience in protected military satellite communications through Milstar and Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) anti-jam satellites, and builds on TCS' highly secure, deployable satellite communication systems, based on a modular architecture with plug-and-play interfaces and integrated logistics support.

News Facts:

  • The U.S. military must operate in myriad environments, including volatile, benign and contested conditions, while staying ahead of adversaries' growing technological advancements.
  • The LCT solution provides secure, assured, protected networks that offer anti-jam, low probability of interception (LPI)/low probability of detection (LPD) communications and cyber resistance.
  • As the next generation of AEHF satellites launch, the LCT solution will allow warfighters to quickly and affordably take full advantage of the satellites' improved capability and expanded capacity.
  • The LCT offerings are designed to work cooperatively with existing systems and have the flexibility to accommodate future network architectures with only minimal software/firmware upgrades.
  • With the more affordable LCT solution, protected satellite communications (P-SATCOM) becomes a viable option for tactical warfighters in the next couple of years.
  • No other existing or developing terminals provide P-SATCOM for the tactical warfighter at similar price points or timetable; the LCT solution at full production levels is priced at one-tenth the price of fielded Extremely High Frequency (EHF) terminals.

The LCT Solution:
The LCT solution enables assured, secure mission command at levels below the brigade combat team anywhere in the world. Developed entirely with company investment, the LCT solution includes two variants of equipment: a Protected Communications on the Move (P-COTM) terminal and a Protected SIPR/NIPR Access Point (P-SNAP) terminal for communications at the halt.

Protected Communications on the Move (P-COTM):

  • Developed jointly by Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, the baseline terminal is interoperable with Milstar and AEHF satellite systems currently in orbit.
  • Electronics transmit at 256 Kbps and receive at 1.544 Mbps, with an uplink performance of 256 Kbps in rain or jamming environments.
  • A tactically rugged terminal with a low-profile vehicle antenna was developed in three years, half the time of development cycles for fielded Milstar- and AEHF-compatible terminals.
  • This solution achieves affordability by leveraging existing designs, technology and government and commercial investments while implementing commercial best practices for procurement and production.
  • The hardware and software are extensible to other form factor terminals, such as small, fixed terminals that can be packed in transit cases, shipboard terminals for small deck ships, and low-cost airborne terminals for unmanned aerial vehicles and piloted aircraft.

Protected SIPR/NIPR Access Point (P-SNAP):

  • Developed in collaboration with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, P-SNAP incorporates both SNAP and P-COTM components.
  • The P-SNAP system is significantly smaller and lighter than currently available protected communication alternatives.
  • The complete terminal system is packaged in three transit cases.
  • Two people can easily set up the system within 30 minutes.
  • P-SNAP is designed to support modular quick-change feeds and upgrade kits to provide backward compatibility for traditional SNAP operations in Ku- and Ka-bands.
Michael Bristol, senior vice president and general manager of government solutions, TCS, said:

"This alliance is a remarkable opportunity for our three world-class technology companies to meet the challenge posed by the military: to invest in critical technologies and rapidly field needed communication capabilities for tactical military operations. Leveraging the companies' strengths, we have developed the LCT solution to provide assured mission command and freedom of action at a much lower cost."

Fred Ricker, vice president and deputy general manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said:

"Military leaders have requested industry to self-fund technology development and new equipment as the fastest way to get much-needed capabilities to troops. We have more than met that challenge with this development. Our terminals can be produced for a cost significantly below currently fielded EHF terminals and can change the paradigm, making protected satellite communications widely available for tactical warfighters at all echelons."

John Miyamoto, vice president of Advanced Programs for Lockheed Martin's Military Space line of business, said:

"As U.S. space-based technology becomes more and more advanced, the next challenge becomes ensuring that the men and women of our armed forces fully benefit from all our satellites have to offer. Harnessing the strengths of our LCT industry partnership, we can rapidly deliver lower-cost protected communications terminals that will enable warfighters to fully tap into the vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications that AEHF delivers."