Army makes satellite modem award

As part of the Defense Department's push for higher speeds and greater bandwidth from satellite communications, the Army recently awarded ViaSat Inc. a contract to design and produce the Enhanced Bandwidth Efficient Modem, a future military standard for high-speed satellite communications.

The EBEM program's objectives are to advance to a commercial, state-of-the-art modem that can support the communications and the command and control (C2) requirements of highly mobile, joint U.S. forces.

The military is seeking more capacity for high-speed broadband and multimedia transmissions, and EBEM will expand the availability of that type of capacity over both military and commercial satellites.

EBEM will interface with a variety of legacy military communications equipment but use advanced technologies to increase efficiency and throughput. The new modems are designed to send and receive data at speeds from 64 kilobits/sec to 155 megabits/sec, said Mark Dankberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Carlsbad, Calif.-based ViaSat.

The Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) awarded the eight-year contract last month, beginning with a purchase of strategic (fixed) and tactical (shipboard) units valued at $7.8 million.

Work has already begun; the initial period of performance for this first production order is April 1, 2003, through July 2, 2005. The first unit deliveries will be in June 2004, according to a ViaSat spokesperson.

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