U.S. Air Force Program to Bring Connectivity for Tactical Missions in the Arctic

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) selected Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) and OneWeb, two important names in the satellite communication and technology world, to demonstrate end-to-end services that can connect the Arctic region to other locations all over the world.
The OneWeb gateway in Svalbard, Norway provides tracking of gigabits of data for NORTHCOM 1 photo
Photo: OneWeb/Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT)
Multi-domain operations are becoming more and more important in today’s world, where new types of security threats are constantly evolving. Digitalization and connectivity are essential in modern military operations, but there are still areas where this is a work in progress. Geographically speaking, the Polar region has remained an unconquered fortress when it comes to connectivity.

That is, until now, when low-latency broadband access will become possible in Arctic locations that were previously unreached. OneWeb, who specializes in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications, will work together with Hughes, who will be in charge of testing and implementing the satellite communication (SATCOM) services on the OneWeb system, to improve connectivity in these remote, Arctic areas.

The objective is to implement a reliable solution, based on SATCOM networks, which will allow better connectivity between specific U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) locations. Hughes is the main contractor, who will be responsible for the integration, testing and management of the service demonstration.

OneWeb will also collaborate with Intellian, the company that is developing user terminals for the service. By incorporating advanced technology, these terminals are meant to be both easy to install and cost-effective.

By introducing high-speed, broadband access in areas that had been unreachable so far, the Polar region will become connected to other NORTHCOM locations, allowing future tactical, multi-domain operations in the region.

This Department of Defense contract is part of the U.S. Air Force’s Defense Experimentation Using the Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program. By working with Hughes and Intellian, OneWeb is set to provide high-speed connectivity to the 50th parallel North area and above, by the end of 2021.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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