A Lockheed Martin technician inspects part of an AEHF satellite as it prepares to enter active service in support of United States military forces. (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin).

Portable Satellite Terminal Completes Vital Security Review

Aug. 17, 2015
An interdisciplinary research team has completed a review of security elements for an Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite terminal.

Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and TeleCommunications Systems signed off on a review of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite's security elements. 

The review validated the design of the low-cost terminal (LCT), which is designed to provide secure communications to mobile military forces. With the review done, the defense contractors can start building hardware and software for the terminal's end cryptographic unit (ECU).

AEHF satellites are capable of providing jam-resistant communications to military forces on the move. But the extremely high frequency terminals carried by soldiers now are not widely available due to size and cost. Without more affordable terminals, soldiers will continue to rely on the Wideband Global System, which is considered more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The ECU will be added to a Protected Communications On-The-Move (P-COTM) terminal. The terminal is being configured with the XDR waveform to support mobile ground, maritime, and airborne communications. The ECU will be integrated with the existing antenna and RF systems of the P-COTM prototype.

Also under construction is a protected Secure Internet Protocol Router Network/Non-secure Internet Protocol Router (SIPR/NIPR) access-point (P-SNAP) terminal. This portable ground terminal contains P-COTM components to connect soldiers in remote areas beyond the line-of-sight. Supporting modular quick-change feeds, the P-SNAP terminal is backward compatible with SNAP operations in the Ku-band and Ka-band.

Three AEHF satellites are currently in orbit, providing almost ten times the capacity of the legacy Milstar satellites. The satellites are connected by a series of crosslinks, which relay signals between satellites directly instead of using ground stations. The uplinks and crosslinks between the satellites operate at 44 GHz and the downlinks at 20 GHz.

For security, the phased-array antennas in the satellites can change their radiation patterns to guard against potential signal jamming. The AEHF constellation, which is being developed by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, will eventually have six satellites.

An early prototype of the LCT terminal has been fully tested. The companies, which have split the development cost, plan to test the terminal with an AEHF satellite by the end of 2015.

Sponsored Recommendations

Getting Started with Python for VNA Automation

April 19, 2024
The video goes through the steps for starting to use Python and SCPI commands to automate Copper Mountain Technologies VNAs. The process of downloading and installing Python IDC...

Can I Use the VNA Software Without an Instrument?

April 19, 2024
Our VNA software application offers a demo mode feature, which does not require a physical VNA to use. Demo mode is easy to access and allows you to simulate the use of various...

Introduction to Copper Mountain Technologies' Multiport VNA

April 19, 2024
Modern RF applications are constantly evolving and demand increasingly sophisticated test instrumentation, perfect for a multiport VNA.

Automating Vector Network Analyzer Measurements

April 19, 2024
Copper Mountain Technology VNAs can be automated by using either of two interfaces: a COM (also known as ActiveX) interface, or a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) socket interface...