USAF receives enhanced polar system payload from Northrop


AEHF satellite

Northrop Grumman has handed over the first of two extremely high frequency (EHF) payloads under contract for the US Air Force's (USAF) Enhanced Polar System (EPS), to offer EHF protected communication capabilities to forces operating in the North Polar Region.

Leveraging the protected communications technologies developed by the company for USAF's Advanced EHF (AEHF) satellite payloads, the new payload is scheduled to become part of an overall EPS network.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector communication systems vice president Tim Frei said the delivery confirms that AEHF-like anti-jam capabilities could be scaled to address multiple requirements of various customers, as well as provide a pathway for disaggregated satellite architectures that are capable of making protected communications affordable and available for additional users.

"Because EPS takes advantage of technologies we developed for Advanced EHF satellite payloads, such as the eXtended Data Rate waveform, we are developing these payloads at a fraction of the time and cost," Frei added.

"The new payload is scheduled to become part of an overall EPS network."

Developed since 2008, the new payload integrates AEHF's payloads functions, such as the Configurable On board Router, Demodulator and Resource Control Computer / Security Equipment Computer into a single eXtended Data Rate Processing Unit on EPS.

Certain essential AEHF components, including crosslinks, nulling antennas and phased array antennas, are not incorporated into EPS payloads as they are altered to address reduced mission requirements.

The EPS system is designed to provide soldiers with secure teletype, voice, email, instant messaging, video, multimedia and data communication capabilities, in addition to facilitating jam-resistant, strategic and tactical communications between forces operating above 65° north latitude.

Featuring two EHF payloads hosted on classified satellites, a gateway to network modified navy multiband terminals to other communication systems and a control and planning segment, the system is expected to achieve initial operational capability (IOC) in 2018.


Image: The Enhanced Polar System's payloads utilise protected communications technologies of the AEHF satellite.

Defence Technology