Space Force tests compatibility of U.S. secure satcom network with U.K. Skynet

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The U.S. and U.K. on July 13 conducted a demonstration of the Protected Tactical Waveform over the Skynet satellite system.

WASHINGTON — A cyber-secure operating system developed for U.S. military communications satellites also works with the United Kingdom’s Skynet satellites, the U.S. Space Force said in a news release July 17.

The U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center and the U.K. Ministry of Defence on July 13 conducted a demonstration of the Protected Tactical Waveform over the Skynet satellite system, according to the announcement.

The Protected Tactical Waveform, known as PTW, has been in development for several years and will run over the U.S. military Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) communications satellites. It was designed to mitigate the effects of jamming on tactical communications networks.

The demonstration with Skynet shows the “flexibility and compatibility of PTW over international partner satcom,” the U.S. Space Force said. A multi-band satcom terminal from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory was used for the demonstration.

The Space and Missile Systems Center developed the PTW as part of a larger program to provide more cyber-secure satellite communications systems to the U.S. military and allies. SMC also is developing jam-resistant ground systems, user terminals and satellites. The plan is to run the PTW over multiple satellite systems, including commercial networks and those of international partner nations.

The Skynet satellite system is the U.K. MOD’s primary provider of strategic communications services to the British Armed Forces and NATO forces in coalition operations.