ViaSat-2 signals a new era of capabilities for the connected warfighter

Added capacity and coverage ready to be deployed this year

Viasat's robust and expanding satellite network enables communications for government and military applications in a variety of operating environments.

Technology Crossover

Today’s military faces a host of complex combat environments around the world, from expeditionary operations in answer to an immediate threat, to forward-based forces supporting ongoing engagements. No matter the environment or the timeline, each unit and each warfighter requires real-time information and cyber warfare protection.

In 1961, NASA launched Alan B. Shepard into space in his Mercury spacecraft, signaling the beginning of the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. For more than 40 years, the United States military maintained the edge in the space race, and not just when it came to moon missions. They also maintained that edge when it came to satellite communications.

That is no longer true today.

The pace of technology development — especially those related to communications and cybersecurity — has continued to quicken over time, and the private sector has outpaced the rate of technology development within the government and the Department of Defense (DoD). Viasat’s high throughput satellite systems are an excellent example of this technology crossover between the government and the private sector.

The launch of ViaSat-1 in 2011 more than doubled the broadband capacity of the entire satellite fleet serving the United States, and Viasat introduced high capacity satellites to the world. ViaSat-1 offers greater than 140 Gbps of capacity and services close to 600,000 fixed terminals — as well as thousands of aircraft and maritime vessels. ViaSat-2 was launched in June of 2017, and will provide almost double the capacity of the ViaSat-1 satellite, with 260 Gbps.

Today, Viasat operates five satellites with more in-use data capacity than any other provider. Viasat continues to lead the satellite broadband communication market, and is expected to launch the first ViaSat-3 class satellite in 2020 which will each boast 1+Tbps. Viasat’s continually evolving network supports best-in-class satellite communications system technology, linking critical government users with unprecedented performance, security, and value.

ViaSat-2

Viasat announced March 12 that ViaSat-2 — the world’s most advanced communications satellite — is now available to enable service for government and defense applications. ViaSat-2 will enable the U.S. DoD to conduct pilots, experiments, and demonstrations to explore, understand, evaluate and empirically measure the warfighter benefits of assured, high-speed satellite communications. These pilots and experiments will demonstrate the ability of high capacity satcom to provide ubiquitous, high-speed connectivity, and assured continuous access to the cloud; enabling emerging concepts of operation (CONOPS), increased mission success, improved resiliency, and real-time situational awareness down to the individual warfighter.

Satellite communications (SATCOM) have been an integral part of the U.S. armed forces mission capability set for decades, but legacy satellite networks have not kept pace with today’s warfighting requirements. For example, today’s networks must have the speed and capacity to handle live video, sensor data, position and location information, and voice communications simultaneously. Never before has a warfighter been able to access and maintain such a high level of real-time situational awareness. It’s an incredible advantage, and one that satellites like ViaSat-2, and the future ViaSat-3 constellation, can provide.

The U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps all rely on Viasat to provide critical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and C2 Airborne Wideband Satellite Communications systems and services for multi-domain operations.

Viasat’s high capacity satellite network enables real-time ISR, Command and Control (C2), Multi-Domain Situational Awareness, and Communications-On-the-Move for joint warfighters, including the ability to:

  • Handle bandwidth-intensive, media-rich cloud applications: Fast data rates and more satellite capacity enable 4K and HD video streaming to thousands of electronic devices simultaneously for greater operational capabilities.
  • Allow more simultaneous operations: More capacity means enhanced ability for warfighters to capture and send ISR sensor data. This includes transmitting live, two-way video conferencing and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls while conducting C2 and situational awareness communications to multiple platforms.
  • Continue operations through an attack: Cyber defense is built into Viasat’s network. This Active Cyber Defense is able to defeat distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, while the network’s Satellite Access Node (SAN) gateways on the ground are engineered to provide seamless redundancy.
  • Provide assured communications: Viasat’s Hybrid Adaptive Network provides a global, redundant system for the military to access multiple satellites across bands, globally.

Viasat is committed to fulfilling the needs of tomorrow’s warfighter. The ViaSat-2 SATCOM network validates the performance advantages and capabilities of Viasat’s commercial network to meet the needs of the U.S. military.

Viasat has consistently demonstrated how innovation and disruptive technology create a better experience for our customers in the government, intelligence community, and the DoD. Viasat is proud to support the U.S. DoD by delivering state-of-the-art products and services that answer customers’ needs rapidly, enhancing mission effectiveness and increasing mission safety.

In today’s rapidly evolving operational environment, Viasat continues to exploit the advantage of being an agile company with access to commercial business models and cutting-edge technology, allowing us to fulfill the needs of the warfighter with advanced solutions ready today.

Shannon O'Meara Smith
About Shannon O'Meara Smith 10 Articles
Shannon O’Meara Smith has in-depth Defense sector knowledge having served on active and reserve duty with both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. Today she is the executive director of Strategic Initiatives within Viasat’s Government Systems business where she helps develop long-term strategies around existing markets and the competitive landscape.