Viasat and Northrop Grumman Partner for Air Force Communications Experiment

Viasat and Northrop Grumman Partner for Air Force Communications Experiment

In a significant move towards enhancing military communications, Viasat has teamed up with Northrop Grumman under the auspices of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). This collaboration is set to revolutionize connectivity for U.S. Air Force operations through a groundbreaking communications experiment.

Key Highlights

  • Northrop Grumman awarded an $80 million contract for satellite communications (satcom) experiments by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.
  • The project, known as the Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI), aims to integrate commercial space internet services with military platforms and weapon systems.
  • The initiative will enable secure, global data sharing and operational synchronization for the warfighter, utilizing commercial space internet constellations across various orbits.
  • The four-year contract focuses on connecting military assets with commercial internet services in geostationary, medium, and low-Earth orbits.

Viasat and Northrop Grumman Partner for Air Force Communications Experiment

Experiment Overview

The DEUCSI program represents a pivotal step in leveraging commercial satellite internet technologies for military use. By integrating these services with airborne platforms and ground vehicles, the experiment seeks to provide robust, resilient connectivity options for U.S. defense operations. This initiative not only aims to enhance the capabilities of the warfighter but also supports the Department of Defense’s vision for Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2).

Implementation Strategy

Northrop Grumman plans to employ open architecture and configurable systems, allowing for rapid integration into various military platforms. The approach promises affordable and resilient connectivity solutions, leveraging commercial space internet constellations in geostationary, medium, and low-Earth orbits. The project underscores the importance of decision dominance across all domains, aiming to establish a diverse network that can support any platform globally.

Impact on Military Communications

The collaboration between Viasat, Northrop Grumman, and the AFRL is expected to significantly enhance the U.S. military’s communication infrastructure. By providing secure, immediate data sharing and operational synchronization capabilities, the experiment could lead to improved situational awareness and decision-making processes for U.S. forces worldwide. The project highlights a strategic move towards integrating commercial technologies into military operations, ensuring that communications remain resilient in various environments.

Viasat has been awarded up to a $900 million Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to develop new systems and capabilities for the U.S. Air Force, working with the Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center (USAF LCMC). Under this multi-award contract, known as LCMC XA IDIQ, Viasat is expected to prototype and test systems, hardware, software, and cybersecurity solutions to provide integrated, multi-domain capabilities for the Air Force. This contract underscores Viasat’s commitment to accelerating and expanding technology integration across the Air Force, with a focus on rapid transition of technology from lab to operational use, incorporating emerging systems into existing platforms, and developing advanced models and simulations​​.

The partnership between Viasat and Northrop Grumman, under the DEUCSI program, marks a crucial evolution in military communications, blending the best of commercial and defense technologies. This experiment is more than just a technological advancement; it’s a strategic endeavor to ensure that U.S. military capabilities remain unmatched on the global stage. By harnessing the power of commercial space internet, this initiative promises to deliver a quantum leap in operational effectiveness and decision-making for the U.S. Air Force. The future of military communications looks bright, with innovations like DEUCSI paving the way for a more connected and capable defense force.


About the author


Ashlyn Fernandes

Ashlyn is a young communications professional with disciplined training and apt exposure. He has been a voice for a number of media houses in the country and overseas. Travel, Technology, Consumer, Real Estate and Healthcare have been his main areas of practice using conventional messaging with effective digital strategies.