New Satellite Connectivity for Air Force Research Aircraft

McLean, VA

Intelsat will supply new satellite connectivity terminals on several different U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) aircraft, according to a Feb. 14 announcement by the satellite network operator.

The new terminals being developed by Intelsat are the result of a one-year $9 million contract issued by AFRL under the Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program. The DEUCSI program is intended to establish communications with military platforms via multiple commercial space internet (CSI) constellations in Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) utilizing a common user terminal with the ability to alternate between space broadband providers.

Intelsat is one of the latest satellite connectivity service providers to be selected to supply aircraft terminals for the program. In September 2023, AFRL issued a multi-year contract to SES Space & Defense.

Intelsat’s Resilient multi-Orbit Airborne Module (Intelsat ROAM) platform will be used for this mission. Intelsat ROAM will be integrated on aircraft selected by AFRL, utilizing different bands and constellations in multiple orbits to enable mission success and ease of use for operators without major hardware configuration changes.

“Intelsat’s offering is unique because we have a virtualized network. This allows for quick integration, increased resiliency and protection which is essential in contested operations,” said Intelsat’s President of Government Solutions David Broadbent. “This virtual network can be changed on the fly and works with new equipment as well as legacy systems allowing the user to make critical changes based on mission needs.”

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