Viasat wins contract to upgrade the UK MoD’s ultra high frequency satcoms network control stations
Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today that Airbus has awarded Viasat’s UK entity an $8.5 million (GBP 6.7m) contract to upgrade the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite communications (SATCOM) Network Control Stations (NCS), delivering the UHF Skynet capability to the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). This upgrade will leverage Viasat’s Visual Integrated Satellite communications Information, Operation and Networking (VISION) software platform, enabling the MOD to comply with the latest Integrated Waveform (IW) requirements, known as IW Phase 2.
Airbus contracted this upgrade with Viasat to further enhance the UK Armed Forces’ mission situational awareness and operational insights; provide greater communications interoperability and scalability to more users on the battlefield; and ensure increased flexibility across legacy and next-generation NCS platforms. Airbus has been using Viasat’s UHF SATCOM technology since 2012, within the Skynet satellite network, which currently benefits UK MOD and coalition forces, including NATO and Five Eye (FVEY) nations.
“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, 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.”
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 supports IW Phase 2 pre-planned demand-assigned and ad-hoc service types, which will allow the UK Armed Forces to considerably increase its channel efficiency to meet end-user requirements without additional investment in the UHF space segment. This optimization is expected to significantly increase the number of users on the network, giving more operational personnel access to reliable, high-quality, resilient voice and data communications. It will also enable future forward-deployable capabilities and future possibility for Demand-Assigned Multiple-Access (DAMA) expansion, which is expected to bring the IW service to all satellites in the current and planned UK portfolio.
Beeching continued, “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.”