WASHINGTON — Kymeta’s flat panel satellite antennas will be among the products the U.S. Army will evaluate for future use in its communications networks, the company announced June 22.

Eight Kymeta u8 flat panel satellite antennas will be installed on military vehicles and tested as part of an Army pilot program. The goal is to identify communications equipment needed to provide connectivity to an armored brigade while on the move. 

The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, was selected in November 2020 to help the Army inform network design for armor formations.

The brigade will put communications gear through its paces and provide feedback on the performance. Exercises at Fort Stewart are scheduled to begin in October. 

The Army is interested in using commercial satcom technologies for mobile command and control, video and data communications.

Kymeta’s u8 flat antennas use electronic beam steering technology to communicate with satellites and cellular networks. The Army also plans to evaluate terminals from Isotropic Systems.

The Army for years has sought to modernize its command operations centers that communicate with geostationary satellites using large dishes mounted on trailers which are not mobile. It now wants to take advantage of low Earth orbit broadband systems and smaller, flexible antennas. 

Kymeta, based in Redmond, Washington, said the u8 terminals support both low Earth orbit and geostationary satellite constellations. The company plans to upgrade them in the future so they automatically switch back and forth from GEO satellite constellations with linear polarization and LEO constellations with circular polarization.

General Dynamics Mission Systems will serve as the technology integrator for the Army’s pilot program. Tests are scheduled to take place from October through December, culminating in a brigade-level exercise. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...