ViaSat, Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT) will provide an upgrade for the satellite network serving the US Army main tactical situational awareness system, known as FBCB2-BFT (follow-on Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below – Blue Force Tracking).
As part of the upgrade, ViaSat will build a prototype network and terminals that are designed to increase network capacity and improve accuracy over the current system. The company was awarded an initial $9.3 million contract from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), the Army’s system integrator for FBCB2. ViaSat and the RF Communications Division of Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) have cooperated in winning this effort. Work under the contract is scheduled to be complete in one year, and production and delivery of FBCB2-BFT replacement terminals may begin as early as 2008.
Current military operations require improvements in BFT network capacity, accuracy, and operating costs along with expanding coverage worldwide. The ViaSat approach is based on its ArcLight spread spectrum technology which can yield significant latency reduction and increase the number of simultaneous users in high density operational environments. In addition, the terminal will be designed to operate in a dual mode that enables it to use commercial communication satellite resources, on-demand, in less dense environments.
ViaSat will also provide a prototype network operations center, upgrading a satellite ground station hub, and development of new transceiver prototypes for aircraft and land vehicles.