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Hughes and OneWeb to Develop LEO Communications for AFRL

2 mins read

Hughes Network Systems announced that the company and OneWeb have been selected by the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to demonstrate managed LEO satellite communications (SATCOM) services to connect the Arctic region to sites around the globe.

Hughes will test and implement end-to-end services on OneWeb’s system between selected U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) locations, a first step in harnessing the power of LEO satellites for high-speed, low-latency broadband access in the Arctic.

“This opportunity reinforces the relationship between Hughes and the U.S. Air Force to ensure resilient, flexible SATCOM networks for tactical, multi-domain operations,“ commented Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of the Defense and Intelligence Systems Division at Hughes.

“We look forward to partnering with OneWeb to bring LEO innovation into the military SATCOM enterprise, especially in the strategic Arctic region where connectivity has been limited—until now,” Lober added.

Hughes is the prime contractor for the project and will lead adaptation, integration, testing and ongoing management  of this service demonstration with OneWeb and Intellian, who are developing user terminals for use on the OneWeb network. The new Intellian terminals are designed for easy use and will incorporate next-generation technology to provide access to the low-latency, high bandwidth connectivity offered by OneWeb.

There is a separate agreement between OneWeb and Hughes in which Hughes is engineering and developing the gateway equipment and user terminal core module, hoping to obtain high-speed, low-latency services above the difficult 50th parallel North.

“The OneWeb constellation has been designed to enable low-latency broadband access across the globe, allowing connectivity in previously unreached areas, a capability that is ideal for tactical, multi-domain operations in the Polar region and beyond. Working together with Hughes, we will bridge the gap in connectivity for NORTHCOM with an interoperable and secure solution,” concluded Dylan Browne, head of Government Services with OneWeb.

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