Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., has shown the U.S. Army how the company's prototype X-band satellite communications (SATCOM) on-the-move antenna could help provide high-data-rate communications to warfighters in the field using military and commercial SATCOM systems.
Ball demonstrated its Mobile Multifunction Low-Cost Array (MMLCA) system at the Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md. The Ball MMLCA is a prototype vehicle-mount SATCOM antenna designed to provide high-bandwidth data communications to troops moving in the field.
Ball engineers developed the MMLCA, a self-contained low-profile antenna with no rotating parts, for the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) FORCEnet future naval capabilities program.
The MMLCA helps reduce the number of antennas on military combat vehicles necessary to support troops in the field. It provides better antenna coverage than today's deployed antennas, and lowers the overall silhouette of vehicles, Ball officials say.
The MMLCA "incorporates the advantages found in advanced phased array antennas including a lower profile design for hemispherical coverage, high-reliability, and lower total ownership cost," says Jim Oschmann, Ball Aerospace vice president and general manager for tactical solutions.
"MMLCA is significantly more rugged than competing conventional designs making it more impervious to weather and battlefield operations," Oschmann adds.
Ball officials say they will make refinements to the MMLCA vehicle-mounted SATCOM antenna based on lessons learned during the Aberdeen demonstration before fielding the system with active-duty military forces.
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