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U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force evaluate revolutionary satellite technologies that will enable true comms on the move

The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force are prepared to evaluate a revolutionary satellite solution that could enable the military’s long-desired dream of true comms on the move.

The military has long relied on satellite communications to deliver connectivity and communications to the tactical edge. However, the large size of the terrestrial infrastructure needed to deliver satellite connectivity – including antennas and terminals – has restricted the use cases for satellite.

The Air Force and Army’s evaluation of next-generation high-throughput satellites and revolutionary advancements in optical beamforming antennas could change that – making low-latency, high-bandwidth satellite communications accessible with a significantly smaller footprint.

Working hand-in-hand with SES Government Solutions (SES GS) and Isotropic Systems, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Engineering Team will evaluate Isotropic Systems’ multi-beam terminal over SES’s O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) constellation and its ability to deliver next-gen connectivity across the battlefield.

The U.S. Air Force and Army, through the innovative Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program, will review a prototype of Isotropic Systems’ optical beamforming antenna and its ability to connect simultaneously with two satellite constellations at GEO and MEO.

The unique multi-beam capability will enable the armed forces to deliver data at the tactical edge by leveraging capacity from multiple commercial satellites and a military satellite over a single antenna platform.

“The Isotropic antenna will deliver high throughput, at low latency over a MEO constellation with simultaneous resilient GEO capacity,” said Pete Hoene, President and CEO of SES Government Solutions. “This will be a game-changer for the U.S. Army.”

The first phase over-the-air (OTA) is scheduled to be completed by early fall, followed by phase two in early 2021 where the Isotropic Systems optical lens technology will be utilized to demonstrate a two full performance beam connection. One beam will link with an SES geostationary (GEO) satellite, while another full performance optical beam will establish a simultaneous connection with SES’s O3b MEO satellite constellation.

“Isotropic Systems’ collaborative tests with SES Government Solutions in support of the U.S. military is an important milestone on our roadmap leading to a multi-beam, multi-frequency terminal that allows the government and armed forces to utilize every bit of capacity in the sky,” said Scott Sprague, Chief Commercial Officer of Isotropic Systems. “That is the ultimate goal for the defense market, which is currently grappling with disparate networks to deliver connectivity to the battlespace.”

It is the first customer contract between Isotropic Systems and SES Government Solutions and follows on from the significant developmental partnership currently ongoing between the two companies to produce scalable, cost-effective terminals capable of providing government, military, and commercial access to commercial satellite connectivity from MEO and GEO.

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