General Dynamics Mission Systems Demonstrates 4G Tactical Backbone Network
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — A General Dynamics Mission Systems engineering team successfully streamed video 62 miles between two tactical antennas on April 20 during the Marine Corps-sponsored Ship-to-Shore Maneuver, Exploration and Experimentation (S2ME2) Task Force Demonstration at Camp Pendleton, the company said in a May 10 release. The engineering team participated in the event through a cooperative research and development agreement with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.
Dubbed the “Long Shot,” the purpose of the internally funded research and development project was to show the viability of a 4G tactical network capable of providing broadband communications over the ocean in a satellite denied or degraded environment.
“By leveraging commercial, off-the-shelf technologies to provide these capabilities to the warfighter, Mission Systems is playing a leading role in the evolution of mobile tactical communications,” said Bill Weiss, vice president and general manager of the Ground Systems Line of Business at General Dynamics Mission Systems. “This capability will increase the ability of Navy and Marine Corps to influence littoral regions worldwide.”
The successful test was completed between San Clemente, off the coast of Southern California, and Red Beach at Camp Pendleton, just north of San Diego. The demonstration involved a streaming video transmission 62 miles from an antenna mounted on a mobile tower on San Clemente Island — representing an aerostat deployment from a ship at sea or within a sea base — to a tactically deployed antenna at Red Beach.
The “Long Shot” capability doubles the distance of existing legacy beyond-line-of-sight communications while simultaneously providing increased bandwidth for streaming video. This allows naval task forces to position sea bases over the horizon, thus limiting line-of-sight targeting options of potential adversaries during a conflict. Additionally, it supports naval task force communications in a satellite denied or degraded environment.
The new capability will use a similar architecture as today’s commercial networks and is an example of leveraging commercial technology to solve a military operational need. The system will be able to bridge to civilian networks as necessary.
The S2ME2 Task Force Demonstration provides warfighters the opportunity to assess the operational utility of emerging technical and engineering innovations in amphibious warfare concepts of operations. General Dynamics will demonstrate this capability to the Navy and Marine Corps at additional events later in the year.