Improving Blue Force Tracking Network Ability to Reduce Friendly Fire Incidents and Increase Situational Awareness
(Carlsbad, Calif., April 11, 2007) -- ViaSat, Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT) has been selected to develop the satellite ground equipment for the follow-on Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below - Blue Force Tracking (FBCB2-BFT) satellite network upgrade. ViaSat will build a prototype network and terminals that are designed to increase network capacity and improve accuracy over the current system under an initial $9.3 million contract from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), the Army's system integrator for FBCB2. The FBCB2 network is a digital command and control system that provides battle command and situational awareness information from brigade down to the soldier/platform level using GPS navigation signals and communication satellites. ViaSat and the RF Communications Division of Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) have cooperated in winning this effort. Work under the contract is scheduled to be complete in one year, and production and delivery of FBCB2-BFT replacement terminals may begin as early as 2008.
Current military operations require improvements in BFT network capacity, accuracy, and operating costs along with expanding coverage worldwide. The ViaSat approach is based on its ArcLight(R) spread spectrum technology which can dramatically reduce latency and increase the number of simultaneous users in high density operational environments. In addition, the terminal will be designed to operate in a dual mode that enables it to use commercial communication satellite resources, on-demand, in less dense environments.
"ViaSat has a strong track record developing new government and defense technologies that help solve challenging technology issues," said Mark Schwene, director of Strategic Initiatives for ViaSat Government Satcom Systems. "Our partnership with Northrop Grumman to upgrade the BFT network is based on our ability to successfully demonstrate a waveform that will fulfill new BFT requirements, while providing the Army with the lowest risk approach to rapidly getting this next generation capability to the warfighter."