Satnews Daily
September 18th, 2019

Hughes Realizes USAF Contract for Enterprise Management and Control Prototypes for SATCOM

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) has been awarded a $2.2 million contract that is funded by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), through the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), to produce an Enterprise Management and Control (EM&C) prototype for satellite communications (SATCOM).

The prototype will include the Hughes Flexible Modem Interface (FMI) which will enhance interoperability across military and commercial SATCOM networks to form a unified hybrid network architecture. Under the agreement, Hughes will demonstrate a solution that enables automated mission planning for SATCOM terminals to roam between networks through automated control processes. In this way, when an active transmission becomes degraded or disrupted, the terminals can "self-heal" to maintain connectivity using alternate networks, enabling higher resiliency.

Leveraging the company's Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based FMI and Mission Management System (MMS) prototypes, Hughes intends to develop and demonstrate the capability for terminals designed for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to intelligently roam among diverse satellite networks and services. The demonstration will also use the Hughes HM System which enables UAVs, helicopters and other aircraft to transmit real-time feeds of HD video and other Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) data over satellite.

Dr. Rajeev Gopal, VP of Advanced Defense Systems for Hughes, said this is the second follow-on contract that Hughes has been awarded by the USAF, a testament to the company's commitment and ability to support the U.S. Air Force Space Enterprise Vision of a more resilient national security space infrastructure using advanced software technologies. Using the company's AI-based terminal management and control technologies, Hughes will show fixed and mobile terminals intelligently roaming among available commercial and military satellite systems for exponential improvements in network resiliency, capacity and cost models.

Rick Lober, VP and GM for Hughes Defense and Intelligence Systems Division, noted that this contract is another step forward as DoD continues making rapid progress in building high resilience and interoperability across their communications networks. Warfighters can no longer rely on single-threaded systems in contested environments, which is why it is critical the Space Enterprise Vision becomes reality as quickly as possible.