Space Force satellite jammers would shut down enemy communications temporarily

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L3Harris will begin to produce the new version of the Counter Communications System

WASHINGTON — U.S. military officials and analysts have warned that China and Russia are building an arsenal of weapons designed to interfere with space-based capabilities of the United States.

The United States meanwhile is building its own capabilities to counter enemies’ space assets. Most of those systems are classified but the Space Force has made public its plans to deploy advanced electronic jammers to disrupt enemies’ satellite communications signals.

The Space Force’s satellite jammer, called Counter-Communications Systems (CCS) Block 10.2, was developed by L3Harris and was declared operational in March 2020.  The company won a $125 million contract last month to produce 16 CCS 10.2 units by 2025 for use at U.S. military bases stateside and for overseas deployments. 

Ed Zoiss, president of L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems, said the CSS allows the military to “dominate the electromagnetic spectrum.”

“Denying our enemies the ability to use their space assets protects U.S. warfighter operations,” Zoiss said Nov. 15 in a news release about the company’s recent contract. 

Praveen Kurian, senior director and general manager of L3Harris’ space superiority division, said the jamming effects of the CCS are reversible, meaning that they do not cause permanent damage. It was designed to cause temporary disruption of satellite communications signals.

The company is working under a contract valued at $284 million to date to develop the CCS Block 10.3 upgrade named “Meadowlands” which is expected to finish development in 2022. L3Harris will build 26 Meadowlands systems.

The upgraded jammer passed a critical design review, Kurian told SpaceNews. “We’re ready to actually begin production of the hardware.” 

The biggest changes in the new system is the automation in the software and the ability to conduct operations remotely, he said. “It’s a pretty significant improvement.”