[SatNews] A Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and TeleCommunication Systems (TCS) (NASDAQ:TSYS) team has completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the information assurance elements of the AEHF Low Cost Terminal (LCT).
Completion of the CDR clears the way for the team to build hardware and software for the information assurance element or end cryptographic unit. LCT is an initiative to develop an affordable terminal for protected extremely high frequency (EHF) communications by leveraging existing commercial technologies and designs to minimize costs. The terminal is designed to provide protected communications via the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite system to highly mobile, tactical military forces at a cost significantly lower than currently fielded protected communication terminals.
An early prototype LCT designed for protected Comm-on-the-Move (COTM) applications has been fully integrated and tested with the AEHF Payload Engineering Model, proving its interoperability with the AEHF anti-jam satellite systems.
The LCT solution takes advantage of Northrop Grumman's and Lockheed Martin's knowledge and engineering experience in protected military satellite communications, builds on TCS's experience and products in deployable satellite communication systems for the military and leverages the strength of a commercial subcontractor team. The contractor team jointly funds the development and contractor portion of LCT certification. To date, LCT has been an industry-funded development.
The team is planning to test the terminal with an AEHF satellite by the end of 2015 and anticipates full certification in 2016.
"This milestone brings the LCT a major step closer to completion so assured connectivity can be affordably extended to tactical users," said Tim Frei, vice president, communication systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Developing this capability is critical because AEHF is the only available alternative that satisfies the compelling warfighting need for assured tactical communications in contested and anti-access/area denial environments."
"We recognize that the DOD has a significant unmet need for the type of protected communications that only the Milstar and AEHF satellites can provide," said Mike Bristol, TCS Government Solutions Group President. "The air, land and mobile variants of the LCT satisfy that need with a very cost-efficient solution."
"The call for innovation and productivity from the Defense Department's Better Buying Power initiative is driving the LCT development team," said Mark Calassa, vice president, Protected Communications Systems and AEHF program manager, Lockheed Martin. "Our goal is to deliver unprecedented, mobile access to tactical forces needing a truly protected communications network."