Boeing has hit a milestone with its anti-jam satellite communications.
According to the aircraft maker, it demonstrated successful integration of its Protected Tactical Enterprise Service (PTES) software elements with an industry partner’s user terminal.
The ground-based military satellite communications system allows Boeing-built Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellites and terminals to transmit data using the US military’s jam-resistant waveform, the Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW).
Its intent is to make satellite communication possible in hostile environments, dodging and mitigating both interference and jamming from adversaries, potentially from a battlefield.
Initially the tech is being designed for the space service branch of the US Armed Forces, Space Force, but is eventually expected to appear in commercial satellites as well.
“Making use of WGS military-unique features in conjunction with its wide bandwidth for PTW spread spectrum hopping, PTES-over-WGS provides the US Department of Defense with crucial fleetwide protected communications anywhere on the globe,” said Boeing in a canned statement.
The demonstration Boeing is celebrating validated the system’s ability to interface with a PTW ground terminal, in the process proving that the network management software and virtualized mission planning components were also working properly.
Validating the integration is just one step in a series of milestones. The last one was in August 2021, when the PTES program had its first over-the-air forward-link with a PTW modem demonstration. The next over-the-air demonstration will include forward and return links later this year. The whole system is expected to be operational in 2023.
Boeing is also building a space-based PTW hub for sensitive and classified information, which will be known as the Protected Tactical SATCOM Prototype (PTS-P).
Satellite jamming is considered typical warfare activity. Reports surfaced this week that Russia’s military has disrupted commercial airplanes’ routines by jamming their satellite navigation systems as the country continues its invasion of the Ukraine.
China has pursued its own jamming technology, presumably as a more practical alternative to its spacecraft grappling arm, as has the United States with Space Force’s L3Harris-built Counter Communications System (CSS).
CSS appeared on the scene in 2004 and has faced many updates since. The satellite jamming system is said to provide “reversible offensive space control effects applicable across the full spectrum of conflict.” ®