Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

First UAVs, Now Ships - Connectivity for the next generation of remote naval operations
by Staff Writers for SatCom Frontier
McLean, VA (SPX) Jul 07, 2017

illustration only

No military operation is as remote as a single destroyer operating on the open ocean, hundreds if not thousands of miles from the nearest port. Forty years ago, a U.S. Navy ship crossing the Pacific communicated by teletype machine using radio signals. Now satellite connections have forever changed life aboard that ship.

Today, ship captains participate in video conferences with commanders ashore, and sailors watch the Super Bowl live while checking email on their smartphones - all because of robust satellite connections. Now the new generation of high-throughput satellites (HTS) such as Intelsat's EpicNG constellation promise to take that connectivity a step further, opening a new era of remote vessel management and even completely autonomous operations. HTS is driving a revolution in connecting ship movements to maritime operations centers (MOCs) hundreds - and often thousands - of miles away. Only satellites can provide this kind of connectivity because naval operations by nature cannot be supported by signals that require line-of-sight.

The Office of Naval Research conducted a demonstration earlier this year in the Chesapeake Bay of an autonomous "swarm," a fleet of small, human-free boats that can collectively patrol areas and detect intruders. The dramatically increased bandwidth available via HTS networks is expected to have a major impact on the development of such systems, supporting the Navy's ocean-going efficiency and effectiveness.

In a recent article in the U.S. Naval Institute, Commander Chris Rawley described how such swarm boats could be used effectively: "Unmanned systems will enhance the distribution and number of naval platforms. Whereas in the past an individual ship or submarine might have been put on station to collect intelligence, tomorrow that same vessel may act as a mother ship for dozens of unmanned "drones" operating independently and scouting an area of interest. So while a shrinking Navy may result in fewer ships on station in a given area, the actual units of action at sea will be higher in number and require delegated operations."

The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) is supporting something called the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel project to develop an autonomous ship that could track a diesel-electric submarine for months at a time. DARPA says requirements include "autonomous compliance with maritime laws and conventions for safe navigation, autonomous system management for operational reliability, and autonomous interactions with an intelligent adversary."

Development of autonomous vessels that operate beneath the waves is progressing as well. Boeing is working with military shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls to design and build the Echo Voyager, a remote drone submarine 51 feet long. The Echo Voyager is designed to operate for months at a time without the need for a support vessel, carrying out missions like data collection.

Many challenges remain to fully take advantage of being able to operate without on-board crews. One major factor is information assurance. Remote and unmanned naval systems will need to operate in areas prone to GPS or other electronic jamming, spoofing, and interference by adversary forces. In this area as well, the new HTS systems are an evolution from traditional commercial SATCOM.

For example, Intelsat EpicNG is engineered to allow for a more protected level of commercial SATCOM. Low-probability of intercept (LPI) and jamming-resilience greatly enhance anti-jamming capabilities on EpicNG satellites, even to non-hopping modems. They are also engineered to allow customers to change power levels, and Intelsat is looking at the possibility of adding beam shaping to future satellites. EpicNG also features interference-mitigation capabilities like on-board power monitoring and notch filtering of interferers/unauthorized users as well as monitoring, re-routing, geo-location, and identification of interferers.

The vast expanses of the world's oceans have always posed communication challenges for naval vessels. Satellite connectivity changed that equation for basic communications, and now HTS systems are poised to support the remote and autonomous systems that will reduce risk and increase the effectiveness of naval personnel.

DISA extends Comtech satellite services to Marines
Washington (UPI) Jul 5, 2017
A Comtech Telecommunications business unit is to continue to provide the U.S. Marines with Ku satellite bandwidth and support services. The work by Comtech's Command & Control Technologies group, part of Comtech's Government Solutions segment, comes through a $14.5 million contract modification that exercises a fourth-year option of a pre-existing award. "The decision by DISA to ... read more

Related Links
Intelsat EpicNG
Read the latest in Military Space Communications Technology at

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Creating Trends in Space: An Interview with NanoRacks CEO Jeffrey Manber

Counting calories in space

Trump offers bold space goals but fills in few details

Liftoff for Trump's bold space plans may have to wait

Hypersonic Travel Possibility Heats Up Massively After New Material Discovery

Aerojet Rocketdyne tests Advanced Electric Propulsion System

Russia to Carry Out Five Launches From Vostochny Space Center in 2018

Spiky ferrofluid thrusters can move satellites

Curiosity Mars Rover Begins Study of Ridge Destination

Tributes to wetter times on Mars

Opportunity will spend three weeks at current location due to Solar Conjunction

Mars surface 'more uninhabitable' than thought: study

China develops sea launches to boost space commerce

Chinese Rocket Fizzles Out, Puts Other Launches on Hold

Chinese satellite Zhongxing-9A enters preset orbit

Chinese Space Program: From Setback, to Manned Flights, to the Moon

LISA Pathfinder: bake, rattle and roll

100M Pound boost for UK space sector

Iridium Poised to Make Global Maritime Distress and Safety System History

HTS Capacity Lease Revenues to Reach More Than $6 Billion by 2025

Spacepath Communications Announces Innovative Frequency Converter Systems

WVU to develop software for future NASA Mars rovers, test 3-D printed foams on ISS

Giant enhancement of electromagnetic waves revealed within small dielectric particles

ANU invention may help to protect astronauts from radiation in space

Evidence discovered for two distinct giant planet populations

Molecular Outflow Launched Beyond Disk Around Young Star

Hidden Stars May Make Planets Appear Smaller

More to Life Than the Habitable Zone

NASA spacecraft to fly over Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Juno Completes Flyby over Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Juno spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot

New evidence in support of the Planet Nine hypothesis

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement