Air Force asks Viasat for encryption in experimental Link 16 satellite that links sensors and warfighters

June 9, 2021
The experimental Viasat satellite will help reduce risk for a future constellation made up of hundreds of satellites mostly in low Earth orbit.

WASHINGTON – A new Link 16-capable satellite under development by Viasat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif., will feature military-grade encryption, company officials say. Defense News reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

9 June 2021 -- The Link 16 datalink is the U.S. military’s primary tactical data exchange network that enables warfighters to share information on the location of friendly and enemy forces to build a common operating picture of the battlefield. Still, Link 16 can’t be used to connect warfighters and sensors that are beyond line of sight of each other.

Scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory wanted to change that. In 2019, the lab issued a $10 million contract to Viasat to build a Link 16-capable satellite. By tying directly into the Link 16 tactical network from low Earth orbit, the satellite could connect beyond-line-of-sight forces.

Viasat officials say the satellite will integrate the company’s In-Line Network Encryptor to give the system radiation-tolerant network encryption that can support more than 100 megabits of data throughput per second. That level of encryption will ensure that classified data can move securely through the otherwise unclassified satellite.

Related: Navy chooses Collins Aerospace to provide data link radio cryptographic modernization for smart munitions

Related: Data Link Solutions to upgrade MIDS JTRS Link-16 tactical communications terminals for ships and planes

Related: Raytheon to provide cyber security encryption for U.S. and allied tactical data links

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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