U.S. Space Force gets upgraded satellite communications jammers for ‘offensive’ operations

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The Counter Communications System was first introduced in 2004. An updated version, called CCS Block 10.2, has completed tests.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military will deploy a new version of a ground-based communications jammer used to block adversaries’ satellite transmissions.

The Counter Communications System was first introduced in 2004. An updated version, called CCS Block 10.2, has completed tests and will be ready for initial operations sometime in 2020, the Space and Missile Systems Center confirmed Feb. 3 in a statement to SpaceNews.

The CCS is operated by the U.S. Space Force 21st Space Wing’s 4th Space Control Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

Operators on the ground use the system to temporarily deny an adversary access to satellite-based transmissions. Over the years the Air Force upgraded the CCS with new frequency bands and other technology refreshes. The 10.2 upgrade has more advanced software that has been in development for five years. L3Harris received a contract in 2014 for CCS Block 10.2.

“CCS is the only offensive system in the United States Space Force arsenal,” Lt. Col. Steve Brogan, combat systems branch materiel leader at the Space and Missile Systems Center, said in a Jan. 31 news release from Peterson Air Force Base.

The U.S. Air Force first deployed three Counter Communications System Block 10.0 units in 2004 in response to electronic warfare systems that other countries were fielding to disrupt American satellites. The effects are reversible. Jammers are used as non-destructive electronic weapons to deny an adversary communications capability.

The Block 10.1 system, also developed by L3Harris, was introduced in 2014. Block 10.1 was composed of seven systems. CCS Block 10.2 “initial operational capability is expected in the near future,” said SMC. Block 10.2 will be composed of 16 systems.

In the statement, SMC said that “significant capabilities have been fielded with each increment.” The Block 10.2 will be updated as needed, to adapt to adversaries’ continually evolving use of satellite communications.

Under the terms of the latest contract for CCS Block 10.2 awarded in 2014, L3Harris will deliver systems in 2020 to Air National Guard units in California, Colorado, Florida and Hawaii, as well as the 4th Space Control Squadron.

For future CCS upgrades, SMC and the 21st Space Wing will move to a new “agile software development and delivery approach,” said SMC.