April 5, 2006, Redondo Beach, CA--A team led by Lockheed Martin Space Systems (Sunnyvale, CA) and Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated the interoperability of a new high-data-rate protected waveform in the initial test of the Next Generation Processor/Router (NGPR), the brain of future Internet protocol-based military satellite communications for the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT).
The test of the NGPR, built by Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector, was conducted against the TSAT RF Universal System Test Terminal at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory from Jan. 23 to Feb. 2. This initial compatibility test, NGPR-1, verified compliance with key aspects of the U.S. government's compatibility standards for the XDR+ waveform, a secure, protected, anti-jamming waveform developed for TSAT ground-to-satellite uplinks and downlinks.
The tests measured the compatibility of XDR+ as well as increased bandwidth efficiency to transfer more information in the same transmitted signal bandwidth. Northrop Grumman's NGPR operated at full-flight data rates established for TSAT.
XDR+ waveforms represent an advancement of the XDR waveform used on the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF) satellite system. It meets the higher throughput requirements of TSAT, which uses both radio frequency and optical communications to provide secure, efficient, global communications for warfighters. The NGPR takes the information transmitted through military user terminals, determines where the information needs to go and selects the most efficient route based on standard commercial network design principles.
"The success of the NGPR-1 test is yet another important milestone in risk reduction for the TSAT program," noted Stuart Linsky, Northrop Grumman's vice president, Satellite Communications. "Our ability to successfully complete this test reflects our continuing track record of success in developing generations of sophisticated processors for MILSATCOM systems, including Milstar and Advanced EHF."
In addition to meeting planned objectives for NGPR-1, Northrop Grumman performed additional risk reduction tests on features for the next test, NGPR-2, which will include both waveform and networking capabilities. The NGPR is a critical component of TSAT, an Internet protocol-based system that is designed to provide military users with protected high-bandwidth communications whenever and wherever needed, as well as new communications-on-the-move capabilities. TSAT will network mobile warfighters, sensors, weapons and piloted aircraft in the air, on the ground, at sea and in space.
"The successful test represents an important step in our effort to advance breakthrough technologies needed for TSAT," said Rick Skinner, vice president, Transformational Communications for Lockheed Martin. "We look forward to continuing our work to provide the Air Force with a revolutionary system that will deliver extraordinary communications capabilities for our men and women in uniform."
The Lockheed Martin / Northrop Grumman TSAT space segment team, which includes ViaSat, Rockwell Collins, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, L-3 Communications, Stratogis and Caspian Networks, is currently working under a $514 million contract for the Risk Reduction and System Definition phase. This effort will culminate with a multi-billion dollar development contract to be awarded to a single contractor in 2008.