Hughes Network Systems, LLC announced it has been awarded a $2.2M contract funded by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), through the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), to produce an Enterprise Management and Control (EM&C) prototype for satellite communications (SATCOM).
The prototype will include the Hughes Flexible Modem Interface (FMI) which will enhance interoperability across military and commercial SATCOM networks to form a unified hybrid network architecture. Under the agreement, Hughes will demonstrate a solution that enables automated mission planning for SATCOM terminals to roam between networks through automated control processes. In this way, when an active transmission becomes degraded or disrupted, the terminals can “self-heal” to maintain connectivity using alternate networks, enabling higher resiliency.
“This is the second follow-on contract that Hughes has been awarded by the USAF, a testament to our commitment and ability to support the U.S. Air Force Space Enterprise Vision of a more resilient national security space infrastructure using advanced software technologies,” said Dr. Rajeev Gopal, vice president of advanced defense systems for Hughes. “Using our AI-based terminal management and control technologies, we will show fixed and mobile terminals intelligently roaming among available commercial and military satellite systems for exponential improvements in network resiliency, capacity and cost models.”
Leveraging the company’s Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based FMI and Mission Management System (MMS) prototypes, Hughes intends to develop and demonstrate the capability for terminals designed for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to intelligently roam among diverse satellite networks and services. The demonstration will also utilize the Hughes HM System which enables UAVs, helicopters and other aircraft to transmit real-time feeds of HD video and other Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) data over satellite.
“This contract is another step forward as DoD continues making rapid progress in building high resilience and interoperability across their communications networks,” said Rick Lober, vice president and general manager for Hughes Defense and Intelligence Systems Division. “Warfighters can no longer rely on single-threaded systems in contested environments, which is why it is critical the Space Enterprise Vision becomes reality as quickly as possible.”