L-TAC enables military communications

by Staff Reporter | October 8th, 2014

Inmarsat is expanding the availability of mobile tactical Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) communications to actively deployed U.S. and coalition forces through the capabilities of its Inmarsat-4 satellite constellation.

The company’s innovative L-band Tactical Satellite (L-TAC) service delivers a highly resilient ‘Ultra High Frequency (UHF)-like’ tactical satellite capability to existing military and commercial radios used by the U.S. government.

L-TAC has been used in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. It uses the spectrum resources of the Inmarsat-4 constellation to seamlessly augment UHF capacity on military satellites. It fully enables interoperable SATCOM using existing radios, waveforms and cryptography. Besides adding much needed channels where UHF SATCOM is restricted, degraded or unavailable, L-TAC can also be used with very small antennas.

This allows the service to support secure BLOS Push-to-Talk voice and data networks for both encrypted and non-encrypted terminals, whether man-portable or installed in vehicles, helicopters, ships or other mobile platforms.

To access the L-TAC service, users require an antenna adaptor for their existing tactical radios.

The L-TAC antenna is also significantly smaller than most UHF SATCOM antennae, providing the added benefit of a lower profile terminal. This interoperable augmentation capability allows tactical users to meet their security and reliability requirements affordably and cost-effectively through L-band spectrum leases for durations as short as one month.

“In today’s unpredictable global environment, L-TAC expands mission-critical channels of communication for U.S. military and government personnel no matter where the mission takes them,” said Peter Hadinger, President of Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit. “This service was designed from the ground up to meet the government end users’ ever growing needs for Beyond Line-of-Sight connectivity in today’s congested tactical spectrum environment.”

In addition to the U.S. military and defense agencies, L-TAC will also support the civil government market for activities such as emergency response and border protection. By enabling interoperability between UHF and VHF radios on the same network, federal agencies, National Guard units and civilian personnel will be able to coordinate more effectively in the event of a major incident or civil emergency.

This capability can create major savings for government by instantly lighting up nationwide mutual aid networks – covering large areas cost-effectively with existing equipment, while permitting extended reach for new public safety networks now in design.

“The positive feedback we’ve received from government users operating in the continental U.S. as well as in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, has been tremendous. They’ve found L-TAC to be even more useful than anticipated, providing assured access to channels and facilitating the mobility that is critical to the success of their mission,” Hadinger concluded.

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