Hanscom Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Antenna can help speed communications
 
Photos 
Antenna installation
Mechanic Tom Buell installs an Advanced Multi-band Communications Antenna on a testbed aircraft in a flight facility here in June. Recent flight testing conducted by a team from the Electronic Systems Center, Space and Missile Systems Center, MIT Lincoln Lab and MITRE Corp. shows that this low-profile antenna can support high-speed Ka-band and EHF communications on wide-body aircraft. (Courtesy photo)
Download HiRes
Antenna can help speed communications

Posted 11/25/2011   Updated 11/28/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


11/25/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Recent flight tests conducted by a combined team from the Electronic Systems Center, the Space and Missile Systems Center, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and MITRE Corp. have shown that the low-profile Advanced Multi-band Communications Antenna, installed on a wide-body aircraft, can effectively support high speed Ka-band and EHF communications.

The tests demonstrated that the AMCAS meets needed performance characteristics, such as small size and weight, easy installation, consistent coverage in all directions and the ability to mount to the aircraft skin. The system will provide secure, long-range military satellite communications connectivity for future Air Force airborne platforms - providing voice, video and chat capabilities.

"This antenna could represent a major breakthrough in supporting multi-megabit-per-second-class airborne communications using the WGS [Wideband Global SATCOM] and AEHF [Advanced Extremely High Frequency] satellites," said David Madden, MILSATCOM Systems Directorate director at Space and Missile Systems Center.

The antenna, mounted on the MIT LL test bed aircraft, was able to successfully establish communications with a MILSTAR satellite. The flight tests were performed with the AMCAS securing connections with MILSTAR at various look-angles, with the array outperforming the anticipated results. During later testing with a WGS satellite, the antenna, once again, exceeded expectations.

"These tests illustrate that it is possible to have Air Force platforms connect to military satellites," said Tom Macdonald from MIT LL. "In addition to showing the maturity of the antennas, the flight campaigns also demonstrated that complete MILSATCOM terminals can be installed and operated on airborne platforms."

As it stands today, some military aircraft typically connect through commercial satellites. The government, then, must pay for that commercial usage, Macdonald said. Connecting through military satellites would alleviate the necessity to pay those fees.

Moreover, because the AMCAS is already developed, users need only to fund integration and installation, providing additional cost savings to the government.

"In fact, while the antenna was flight tested on the MIT LL Boeing-707 platform, the same configurations could be implemented onboard operational wideband aircraft such [as] the AWACS, Joint STARS, transport and tanker aircraft and special operations C-130 based platforms," said Madden.

There is also another benefit to using military satellites - security.

"Since the communications will be through military satellites, security will improve for all traffic, including voice, video and chat," said Bill Lyons, AMCAS program manager.

When the project began in 2004, the ESC AMCAS Program Office, MIT LL as well as MITRE set out to find the best possible solution to a user requirement for a new airborne SATCOM antenna.

MIT LL team members David Snider, AMCAS chief engineer, and Dr. Steve Targonski, technical staff, working in conjunction with the ESC program office and MITRE, found that users wanted something smaller, lighter and more durable that could provide consistent communications independent of the orientation of the aircraft.

Additionally, because of aerodynamic concerns, the antenna would also have to be less than 10 inches in diameter so that aircraft would not lose any time on station.

The AMCAS was the answer, said Lyons.

Now, personnel working with various platforms have expressed interest in the recent successful flight tests.

"They said it is a good fit, just what they were looking for," said Scott Hardiman, Space and Nuclear Networks Division acting chief. "This is quite an accomplishment. It is the first time the technology has been proven; we have a successful prototype. We now hope the users will realize how advantageous this capability can be for them."

Personnel who are interested in learning more about the AMCAS can email bill.lyons@hanscom.af.mil.



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Hanscom AFB

ima cornerSearch

tabMission NewsRSS feed 
JSTARS Recap team holds industry week

Still time to register for upcoming focus week

Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks Division offers up potential business opportunities

Significant milestone met as progress continues on AWACS upgrade

Initial phase of Joint STARS effort begins

Cursor on Target to host user group meeting

PEOs share information, emphasize collaboration at symposium

Battle Management division emphasizes acquisition priorities, sets sight on new initiatives

Hanscom facility looks to expand  1

tabHanscom NewsRSS feed 
Hanscom to celebrate Arbor Day on May 9

Wolfenbarger visits Hanscom

Force management update

Prescription drugs 'take back' scheduled

AFOSI assists personnel traveling abroad via AF Portal

Air Base Group working to improve self-assessment program

Holocaust Days of Remembrance scheduled

PPE and situational awareness key to staying safe outdoors

Religious support teams minister to building occupants

AF Heritage of America Band to perform April 25

tabNews Briefs and HappeningsRSS feed 
Upcoming events

News in Brief

School Notes

tabCommentaryRSS feed 
We all need a wingman

Military spouse resiliency

tabPhoto FeatureRSS feed 
Photo feature: This week at Hanscom, April 17

tabFeaturesRSS feed 
Air Force strong

Making a positive impact


Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act