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Viasat wins Northrop Grumman contract for US AFRL's Global Lightning

Viasat has been awarded a contract from Northrop Grumman to support the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) initiative, called the Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) Call 003 programme – better known by its nickname 'Global Lightning'.

Image courtesy Viasat

Northrop Grumman was awarded a four-year contract to test how defense contractors and commercial satcom providers could integrate space internet services into existing military systems. As part of its contract with Northrop Grumman, Viasat will provide its ViaSat-3 Satellite Communications Network to enable military users to easily access high-bandwidth satellite internet connectivity from existing USAF aircraft or ground vehicles.

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Under the deal, Viasat will integrate its ViaSat-3 modem into Northrop Grumman's open systems processors and antenna solutions to conduct experiments demonstrating its use on multiple platforms. The modem is aligned with open communications and IP-protocol standards in use by the military, for example OpenAMIP, CMOSS and SOSA.

Open standards have been identified as a top priority for the US Department of Defense because they enable faster adoption of new communications technologies so military users can keep up with industry innovation. The ViaSat-3 modem is a low size weight and power embeddable module that can seamlessly integrate with multiple mission systems by operating with open standards.

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"Global Lightning is about delivering flexibility and agility for military users," said Victor Farah, Head of Viasat Government Systems. "Our reliable satellite services - coupled with the open source optimised ViaSat-3 modem - are designed to be able to offer game changing communications capability so they can connect with ease and deliver mission success. We are delighted to be working on the programme to offer our expertise across USAF's defence platforms."

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