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Viasat to upgrade the UK MOD's satellite communications network

Steve Beeching - Viasat 16.9.jpg

Airbus has awarded Viasat UK with an $8.5 million (£6.7 million) contract to upgrade the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite communications Network Control Stations (NCS) for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD).

This upgrade will deliver the UHF Skynet capability to the MOD satcomms using Viasat's Visual integrated satellite communications information, operation and networking (VISION) software platform. As a result, the MOD is able to comply with the latest Integrated Waveform (IW) requirements, also known as IW Phase 2.

"The UHF upgrade, incorporating our VISION software, is key to providing increased mission effectiveness by rapidly expanding the Skynet capability to UK MOD and allied forces," said Steve Beeching (pictured), managing director, Viasat UK.

"With VISION, the network operators will gain more assured, reliable, real-time communications capabilities to reconfigure UHF satellite networks to meet new tactical profiles—as battlefield and warfighter requirements dynamically expand and contract."

Airbus contracted Viasat to carry out this upgrade to further advance the UK Armed Forces' mission situational awareness and operational insights; to provide greater interoperability and scalability; and ensure increased flexibility across legacy and next-gen network convergence system platforms.

"This is an important contract for Viasat UK, as it is part of our continued growth and prosperity plan in the UK. Viasat's proven VISION technology platform will now be leveraged to support IW Phase 2, which will enable our troops in the UK to communicate more efficiently and cost-effectively across the globe," added Beeching.

The use of VISION in the IW Phase 2 upgrade will provide network operators more control of the UHF network, and warfighters with a more resilient communications service. The VISION platform allows the UK Armed Forces to increase its channel efficiency to meet demand without additional investment in the UHF space segment.

This upgrade is expected to significantly increase the number of users on the network, giving more operational personnel access to resilient voice and data communications. It will also lay the foundations for future forward-deployable capabilities and ability to expand its Demand-Assigned Multiple-Access (DAMA), which is expected to bring the IW service to all satellites in the UK portfolio.

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