The US Air Force’s (USAF) first fully funded modernisation enterprise terminal (MET) installed at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, has commenced operations.

Part of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) MET programme, the terminal valued at $15m will provide secure communication capabilities including voice, video and data services, to the US Central Command.

The system uses the latest technology and features anti-jamming software.

379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron plans and programmes manager Vernon Jones said: "It provides tremendous capability and reliability to the warfighter.

"It ensures the CENTCOM commander has the communication capability to get his guidance to his subordinate commanders to execute the mission.

"It also provides the assurance to the warfighter that when an extraction team or a rescue helicopter is needed, it will be there."

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The MET programme is aimed at enabling US military forces the advantage of increased data capabilities of its constellation of Ka-band wideband global communication satellites.

"It ensures the CENTCOM commander has the communication capability to get his guidance to his subordinate commanders to execute the mission."

DoD’s MET programme 379th ECS commander lieutenant colonel Carlos Alford: "The programme’s goal is to install new terminals around the world.

"The MET will simultaneously handle both X and Ka-band signals which use WGCS.

"The previous Defense Satellite Communications System could only handle X-band and one WGCS satellite is equal to about 10 DSCS satellites in terms of bandwidth it provides."

Work to set up the terminal began towards the end of 2012.

A second MET is expected to be installed at Al Udeid AB in 2018 to further increase CENTCOM’s communication capabilities.

Image: The new Modernised Enterprise Terminal at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Joshua Strang.