Boeing Tests Secure Signal Over WGS Satellite System

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In a December test of a new anti-jam technology, Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, Calif., sent a protected signal to one of the U.S. Air Force’s Wideband Global Satcom X- and Ka-band communications satellites, the company announced Jan. 13.

The test was part of an Air Force effort to evaluate protected satellite communications alternatives and demonstrate the potential for dramatically lowering the cost of delivering highly secure services via both commercial and military satellites.

In Boeing’s Dec. 15 test, the company sent a government-developed, protected signal to the sixth WGS satellite through a modified anti-jam modem. The signal met the company’s targets for accuracy and strength, the release said.

“This technology boosts the ability of warfighters to send protected information without enemy data interference by using currently available satellites that do not have anti-jamming technology of their own,” Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems, said in the release.

Boeing officials said the anti-jam technology could be uploaded to the other on-orbit WGS satellites or to the four still under construction.

In a Jan. 14 email, Mark Spiwak, Boeing’s WGS program director, said he believed the technology was capable of providing signal protection comparable that provided by the Advanced Extremely High Frequency communication satellites, the most secure in the Air Force’s fleet. Spiwak did not provide specifics, except to say the performance varies with data rates and bandwidth.

In September, Boeing announced it had transmitted a protected tactical communications waveform through a commercial satellite in a test that according to the company means, at least in theory, that secure military communications could be delivered to any place on Earth with commercial satellite coverage. The commercial satellite in question must meet certain ground processing and protected communications requirements, Boeing said.

Boeing has planned further tests of the anti-jam technology for 2014.