Harris completes Milstar log-on to get ready for Navy competition

Harris Corp. has completed a point-to-point satellite call under simulated high-sea shipboard conditions using an advanced multi-band prototype system to prepare for an upcoming Navy contract competition.

Harris successfully logged onto, communicated with, and tracked a Milstar satellite, a joint service satellite communications system that provides secure communications around the globe.

The Melbourne, Fla., company conducted the test to prepare for a Navy contract tentatively scheduled for award in June 2007. The contract could be worth more than $1 billion by 2015.

Harris' major teammate in the project is Lockheed Martin Corp. Raytheon Co. also is competing for the contract.

"This milestone achievement clearly demonstrates our prototype terminal's ability to be recognized by and communicate effectively with Milstar satellites while in full platform motion," said Sheldon Fox, vice president and general manager of Department of Defense Programs, Harris Government Communications Systems Division.

Harris recently announced that it successfully acquired and tracked low- and medium- data rate waveforms on, and uplinks to, the Milstar satellite using the same prototype terminal.

A software programmable modem developed by Harris was instrumental in all three successful demonstrations. Once fielded, the terminal will serve as the common element of naval information networks, providing interconnection of individual naval assets with other services and eventually with the Global Information Grid.

Log-on to the Milstar satellite was performed at the Harris Naval SATCOM Integration and test facility in Palm Bay, Fla.

All Harris terminals ? shore, submarine periscope, submarine mast and shipboard ? now have the capability to communicate with the Milstar satellite while under high sea conditions.

Harris won a contract in 2003 to develop four prototypes for the next-generation Navy Multiband Terminal for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. The first phase of the program is an effort to design and develop prototype Q-band SATCOM submarine and shipboard terminals in support of the Navy's FORCEnet concept. The new terminals will provide the Navy with a modernized, highly reliable system that provides more than four times the data capacity of today's Milstar terminals.

Additional phases will add high-performance Ka- and X-band capabilities to the common terminal. The resulting system will replace current single- and dual-band terminals, yielding lifecycle cost reductions and improved reliability. This approach offers the Navy better access to SATCOM assets, increased bandwidth and protection from jamming and interception of transmissions.

Harris, which has 14,000 employees and had annual sales of about $3.5 billion in 2006, ranks No. 22 on Washington Technology's 2006 Top 100 list of the largest federal IT contractors.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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