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Satnews Daily
April 1st, 2011

Space + Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR)... Full Blown BLOS (MILSATCOM)

E-2C Hawkeye aircraft
[SatNews] A new network architecture designed by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is providing enhanced command and control capabilities for naval aircraft operating from USS Ronald Reagan in support of Operation Tomodachi, the international humanitarian relief effort in Japan.

Conceived by engineers assigned to the airborne networking team at SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific, the network solution was originally intended to address an Urgent Operational Needs Statement from United States Navy Central Command in Bahrain. The UONS sought beyond line of sight classified connectivity for E-2C Hawkeye aircraft operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We recently received some extremely positive feedback from aircrews flying E-2C Hawkeye aircraft telling us this network solution, designed for combat, is making a huge, positive impact on the Navy’s ability to support search and rescue, and resupply operations,” according to Cmdr. Justin Fine, Project Lead for the E-2C airborne networking team at SSC Pacific. “The network is giving the Navy’s command and control aircraft an improved and additional ability to relay real time data to other operational assets, assisting first responders on the ground.”

The network relies upon Iridium satellite communications with an economical data rate of 2.4 kilo bytes per second (kbps) to support chat applications. Engineers at SSC Pacific developed a means to piggy back on commercial technology while also adding full encryption to protect vital information. SSC Pacific engineers designed this solution to be interoperable with current systems, and are now reviewing integration into larger Navy tactical and wide area networks. “Development of this agile, responsive and secure network is enabling decision superiority for deployed fleet assets serving as a global force for good,” said Capt. Joe Beel, Commanding Officer SSC Pacific. “This solution is representative of SPAWAR’s strong suit in adapting and integrating off-the-shelf commercial technologies to meet immediate operational requirements. Moreover, it once again demonstrates SPAWAR’s role as the Navy’s information dominance systems command and our continuing support of the Chief of Naval Operations priorities.”

SSC Pacific is the primary research and development laboratory for Space and Naval Warfare System Command. Their primary work is focused on ensuring the fleet's ability to seize and control the information domain “high ground” whenever, wherever and however required for decisive competitive advantage across the full range of Navy missions. Information dominance means freedom of action to maneuver and act — conduct offensive and defensive actions, kinetically and non-kinetically — at the intersection of maritime, information and cyberspace domains, to deliver warfighting options and effects. (Reported by Chief Petty Officer Lesley Maceyak, DVIDS)