Boeing has successfully completed software qualification and systems integration testing for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) development programme.
During the testing, which was carried out at the company’s factory, the terminal successfully relayed data using both low-data-rate (LDR) and extended-data-rate (XDR) communications protocols, the latter offering internet-like functionality and increased speed compared to previous systems and software.
The company also integrated FAB-T with the advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) and military strategic, tactical and relay (Milstar) satellite constellations, to evaluate the terminal’s ability to control strategic satellite communications payloads in orbit.
Boeing vice president and FAB-T programme manager Paul Geery said the testing has demonstrated the design’s ability to address the functional and performance requirements of the FAB-T.
"We’ve also demonstrated AEHF spacecraft control, which is critical to FAB-T’s mission," Geery added.
"FAB-T will enable the air force to perform all satellite control functions, including setting up networks, establishing user traffic priorities and scheduling satellite beams."
As part of a firm fixed-price contract awarded by USAF in April 2012, Boeing has integrated additional capabilities, such as Presidential and National Voice Conferencing (PNVC) and synchronised satellite terminals capability into the FAB-T system.
The system is expected to undergo functional qualification testing in early 2013.
Equipped with open system architecture, the FAB-T programme aims to provide senior national and military leaders with a secure satellite-based capability required to achieve information superiority in the command and control of US strategic forces worldwide.
Upon entry into operational service, the net-ready, interoperable communications system is expected to provide AEHF satellite connectivity for the B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bombers, RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, E-4B National Airborne Command Post and E-6B aircraft.
Image: The advanced extremely high frequency satellite will transmit FAB-T communications.