Satcom executives see growing military demand for more secure, mobile equipment

Tom Kirkland of L3Harris: ‘What I see is a convergence of communications and digital warfare’

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. —  The U.S. navy is demanding extra superior applied sciences to guard its tactical communications programs from subtle digital assaults, trade executives mentioned Sept. 9 on the Satellite tv for pc 2021 convention. 

“It’s develop into a way more sophisticated world than we’ve ever needed to take care of,” mentioned Karl Fuchs, senior vice chairman of expertise at iDirect Authorities, a navy contractor that gives community administration companies. 

Fuchs and different executives throughout a panel dialogue mentioned they count on DoD to hunt new cellular networking capabilities following the U.S. navy’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and a shift in focus to different areas like Japanese Europe and the Pacific Rim. Satellite tv for pc communications networks will must be higher defended towards Chinese language and Russian jammers, and tools like satellite tv for pc antennas will must be extra compact and tougher to detect. 

As networks are shut down in Afghanistan an the Center East, DoD is specializing in modernization for the longer term, mentioned Tom Kirkland, vice chairman and basic supervisor of L3Harris Applied sciences

“What I see is a convergence of communications and digital warfare,” he mentioned. Suppliers of communications programs needs to be working extra intently with the digital warfare group, mentioned Kirkland.

Efforts to discourage Russia in Japanese Europe and China within the Pacific are going to drive necessities for future programs, he mentioned. U.S. forces might be extra geographically dispersed and can want “extra comms on the transfer,” Kirkland mentioned. “There’s going to be a significant must be extremely cellular, we are going to want a mixture of line-of-sight and past line-of-sight.” Meaning the demand for satcom will enhance, he added.

One of many challenges working within the Pacific and Japanese Europe is that U.S. networks are extra susceptible to jamming so tools must be simpler to maneuver round, Kirkland mentioned. “Prospects need low profile options.”

Rob Weitendorf, vice chairman of enterprise improvement at satellite tv for pc antenna producer Kymeta, mentioned the Military, Marine Corps and U.S. Particular Operations Command are “driving a number of necessities for low profile, low detection” tools.

Weitendorf famous that there is no such thing as a “official program of document for floor mobility satcom on the transfer” at DoD. A variety of initiatives are being funded by the Military and the Air Drive, for instance, to adapt business satcom applied sciences for navy use.

Dave Provencher, vice chairman of enterprise improvement at AvL Applied sciences, mentioned DoD is predicting extra frequent and extra damaging cyber and digital assaults.

“Jamming is a big situation,” mentioned Provencher. AvL provides cellular satellite tv for pc antennas to DoD. 

Deployed items “know they’re going to run into bother each time,” he mentioned. 

The primary concern are so-called peer rivals like Russia and China. However these nations additionally present tools to international locations like Iran and others which might be utilizing the expertise to disrupt U.S. networks. “They will discover us, the can jam us, they’ll detect us,” mentioned Provencher.

The U.S. navy in fact has the means to hit again, he mentioned, which might lead to “mutually assured blindness.”

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