MilSat Magazine 2017 Year in Review

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Hughes experienced another great year in 2017 as the company continued to build on the firm’s market leadership in broadband satellite systems and services around the globe and notably establishing the groundwork for long-term opportunities supporting the military and federal, state and local civilian agencies.

Following its successful launch from Cape Canaveral in December, 2016, EchoStar XIX — the world’s largest capacity communications satellite — was put into service in March, joining the existing EchoStar XVII and SPACEWAY 3 broadband satellites to provide more than 300 Gbps capacity covering the vast majority of North America and parts of Central and South America. Designed with Hughes JUPITER™ System technology, EchoStar XIX is a multi-spot beam, Ka-band satellite that is the cornerstone of the new HughesNet® Gen5 service, which is capable of delivering 100 Mbps download speeds to individual VSAT terminals.

Beyond creating bold new possibilities for consumer and enterprise customers nationwide, the new service from Hughes has opened up game-changing opportunities for the public sector — ultimately translating into more speed, more data and more advanced features for the many different applications of federal, state and local governments.These include:

Remote Connectivity
Recognized by the FCC as the only broadband internet service with 25 Mbps downloads available nationwide, HughesNet Gen5 brings high-speed connectivity to any government office or remote site, such as park stations, which aren’t reached by terrestrial providers due to high cost of infrastructure. Only satellite offers affordable and scalable high-speed connectivity virtually anywhere. Agencies can also employ satellite broadband to establish hybrid networks, which use a blend of terrestrial fixed and wireless network technologies to increase network availability and application performance.

Satellite Backup Service
One major initiative underway today in the U.S. is the adoption of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) systems. Many Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) locations have reported unpredictable network outages along with this new IP-based technology adoption due to various reasons. These interruptions are caused by severe weather or just technology flaws and human errors leading to failures between the local access facility and the connection to the PSAP regional point-of-presence (PoP).

Hughes has designed a seamless network backup solution leveraging satellite technology which does not rely on vulnerable terrestrial infrastructure. By adopting NG911 architectures that include this kind of satellite backup solution, PSAPs will gain the benefit of enhanced network availability in accessing next-generation capabilities like text-to-9-1-1, image/video communications and accurate cellular caller location.

Emergency Communications
Satellite has proven to be invaluable in emergency response efforts following disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Most recently, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria brought a level of destruction that hasn’t been seen for years, wiping out local infrastructure and leaving people, businesses, aid organizations and government agencies without reliable communications. Hughes partners with government agencies and NPO’s to provide communications capabilities for first responders and in Puerto Rico alone, deployed
hundreds of terminals in support of relief efforts, working with local hospitals, pharmacies and the airport authority, among other organizations.

This year, Hughes announced the company will be offering telecommunications products and services through the General Service Administration’s (GSA), Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract. Hughes partners as a subcontractor to prime contract awardee Level 3 Communications on this 15-year vehicle for telecommunications requirements. As agencies prepare to transition their contracts from the old Networx contract vehicle, the years ahead will see substantial task order activity, with agencies using EIS to heed the call to modernize their network technology.

Under EIS, agencies will be able to supplement their existing networks with next generation satellite broadband to connect “last mile” sites that still struggle to get adequate operational bandwidth. Hughes also brings a terrestrial broadband offering as part of a managed services model to deliver each site the best available service technology, whether it be cable, fiber, DSL, 4G or satellite. Hughes has developed a cutting edge managed SD-WAN solution that adds new levels of network automation to drastically improve cloud-based application performance and overall network availability. Beyond reducing overall cost by leveraging the low cost-per-bit of broadband, a critical byproduct of the Hughes Managed SD-WAN solution is added layers of security features to protect agencies from the rising number of threats from hackers.

This year, Hughes was also added to the GSA’s Complex Commercial SATCOM Solutions (CS3) contract and will compete for various requirements of the $2.5 billion, 10- year vehicle. Following its CS2 predecessor, CS3 is the third generation of similar offerings through this contract family and under it, Hughes will aim to deliver government agencies industry-leading custom satellite network technology to support various requirements:
1. Interactive Services
2. Continuity of Operations (COOP)
3. Broadcast Satellite Service
4. Direct Customer Operations
5. Steady State Operations
6. Emergency Responder Operations
7. Mobile SATCOM

Hughes was selected for a study program this past summer to support the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in planning how to make the most of the latest satellite communications technology, winning two awards under the Wideband Communications Architecture Study (WCAS) contract. Hughes is the prime on one study award and a subcontractor to an award won by the Kratos Communications team and will deliver a wide-ranging commercial perspective on how different satellite systems can interoperate for wideband government applications.

Mobility Drives Innovation
Mobility has become the driving factor in military customer’s requests for communications solutions. More powerful inflight connectivity for fixed-wing aircraft, and Comms-On- The-Move (COTM) capabilities for airborne, maritime and ground operations were just a few of the steps we took this past year to improve capabilities for military users.

In March, the Hughes HM200 modem was recognized by industry at the Satellite Show in Washington D.C. asthe top aero mobility SATCOM innovation by the Mobility Satellite Users Association (MSUA). It can be paired with any size of qualified antenna to connect a mobile platform to the satellite and then to one or more ground stations, anywhere in the world, supporting a superior level of mobile video, voice and data, even in the harshest environmental conditions.

Hughes launched the unique HeloSat Solution that provides reliable in-flight satellite connectivity for a full 360-degree range from the aircraft.

Hughes innovation led to the introduction of the HM500 ManPack Terminal—a light, multiband satellite terminal providing on-the-pause communications for forwarddeployed teams, whether on the battlefield, on a search-andrescue mission or conducting aerial disaster assessments.

Protected Communications
Taking the network out into the field requires advanced waveforms and cyber security measures for operation in contested environments. Today’s increasing threats from more sophisticated adversaries have created significant security challenges for military SATCOM users. To help counter this development, Hughes engineers created specialized satellite waveform algorithms that can address enemy detection and different types of RF jamming tactics.

Hughes is also working with state-of-the-art LPI/LPD waveforms that provide additional resiliency against these new and more sophisticated threats. Compatible with commercial Ku- and Ka-band satellites, the solution is now a commercially available anti-jam solution for operation in contested environments.

UAV SATCOM Applications
Hughes is looking forward to continuing the firm’s work supporting General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GAASI) to provide satellite communications on their “Type- Certifiable” Predator B remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) known as SkyGuardian. The new SkyGuardian aircraft will provide next-generation capabilities, integrating enhanced safety and reliability systems that will enable RPA to fly within civilian airspace, along with an increased payload capacity that will support a wide variety of mission sets. Hughes is upgrading the UAV’s satellite communications system with the HM400 modems which are enhanced versions of the HM200, designed for the specific requirements from General Atomics.

Looking Forward to 2018 and Beyond
In 2018, Hughes will continue moving forward with developing the company’s JUPITER™ 3 ultra-high-density satellite, which, when launched in 2021, will provide a dramatic increase in broadband capacity to meet rising demand across North and South America. With planned offerings at speeds of 100 Mbps, JUPITER 3’s coverage will be optimized to cover key areas of demand for capacity.

This kind of satellite innovation together with developments for smaller and lighter terminals as well as the company’s partnership with OneWeb will offer governments and their militaries cutting-edge capabilities that can be deployed rapidly and securely to meet their evolving missions.

MilsatMagazine — December 2017 47