L-3 unit wins $170M contract for manpack satcom systems

Shipments to include Ku-band, Ka-band and X-band manpacks, data kits and power systems

The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has awarded a five-year, $170 million contract to a unit of L-3 Communications for portable satellite communications systems that will give special operations forces high-speed transmission capacity for voice and data communications.

Under the contract, L-3 GCS will furnish its Panther Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) manpack satellite communications systems and associated equipment to USSOCOM, the company said today. The systems are being deployed as part of the command’s Special Operations Forces Deployable Node-Lite program to furnish satellite communications connectivity to forces deployed around the globe.

The company has worked for the past two years to reduce the size of a VSAT terminal to the point that it can fit into a field pack, Bob Jacobson, president of L-3 GCS, said. As a result, “a single warfighter can have a megabit-per-second, beyond line-of-sight radio in his or her rucksack," Jacobson said.

The company plans to begin shipping military tested and cerfitied Ku-band, Ka-band and X-band manpacks, data kits and power systems to USSOCOM this year. Additional units will be sent throughout the life of the contract.

L-3 GCS, of Victor, N.Y., is a provider of satellite communications systems that integrate data, broadband Internet, telephony, multimedia, audio, video and computer networking. Its products are used by the military and civilian government customers and also commercial customers.

The parent company, L-3 Communications Corp., of New York, ranks No. 8 on Washington Technology's 2010 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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