The Air Force is seeking more advanced protected satellite technology for the 2025-2040 timeframe, including nuclear command-and-control capabilities, according to a request for information by the USAF Space and Missile Systems Center Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate.
The industry survey will be used for the Protected Satellite Communications Services analysis of alternatives.
The Air Force is interested in a variety of technologies, including “alternative protected MILSATCOM [military satellite communications], aerial and surface layer architectures (which span space, ground, terminal segments, aerial and surface), hosted payloads, small freeflyers (a small freeflyer is defined as a small, lightweight, standalone satellite which can be launched on a commercial launch vehicle), compatible security architectures, operational management, and modified or new waveform/protocols,” according to the project announcement.
Protected MILSATCOM services are currently defined as extremely high frequency services for both strategic and conventional forces, notes the Air Force. But the future definition will encompass “any combination of waveforms, frequency bands and equipment which provide users the ability to communicate mission critical data/information and operate in contested environments.
Protected strategic MILSATCOM must be able to provide low probability of interception/detection/exploitation, be survivable, have anti-jam communications as well as nuclear command-and-control services in all operational environments — nuclear, contested and benign.
Protected tactical SATCOM services must be able to provide anti-jam communications in contested and benign environments.
The deadline for industry responses is Oct. 14.