Viasat Announces First U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command Ship Installation

A prominent player in satellite communications, Inmarsat Government, has proudly announced the successful completion of the inaugural ship installation for the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC) as part of the Next Generation Wideband (NGW) Follow-On (FO) 10-year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract. This contract was granted to Inmarsat Government by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) on June 30, 2022. Following the acquisition of Inmarsat by Viasat on May 30, 2023, Inmarsat Government has become an integral part of Viasat’s government business.

Under this comprehensive 10-year contract, Inmarsat Government is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the commercial communications infrastructure, encompassing satellite systems, teleport services, and terrestrial services. The milestone achievement involves the successful upgrade of the primary afloat network of 105 MSC ships from Ku-band to the Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band system. Additionally, the ELERA Enhanced L-band Maritime Antenna (ELMA), a variant of the award-winning LAISR L-band solution, was implemented to enable communications on the move through a small-size, high throughput terminal.

Eliot J. Skinner, Deputy Command Information Officer, emphasized the critical role of the Military Sealift Command as the premier maritime logistics provider for the U.S. Department of Defense. He highlighted the importance of resilient communication capabilities for MSC ships, ensuring consistent performance irrespective of location or weather conditions. The upgraded systems, featuring the hybrid solution of Ka- and L-band service, provide secure, resilient, and worldwide communications capabilities for MSC ships. This approach, combining the GX and ELERA networks, offers enhanced data rates, uniform coverage, and reliable global backup networks compared to legacy Ku-band systems.

The deployment of a holistic, managed service model, known as SATCOM as a Service, incorporates satellites, ground networks, and type-approved terminals. This model ensures optimal efficiency and functionality while delivering an elevated user experience and saving government resources. Steve Gizinski, Managing Director of Viasat Government Services, expressed pride in the longstanding relationship with the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command, spanning over a decade. He highlighted the substantial improvements in SATCOM capabilities, including expanded global coverage, improved reliability, resiliency, and on-demand data rates that meet user needs.

The MSC fleet now benefits from an integrated, worldwide solution, providing high throughput with RF band and path diversity to ships at sea. The network aspects are meticulously designed as a unified solution with mobility in mind, ensuring users experience a reliable, on-demand continuous service. For more details about the Global Xpress Ka-band network and information on the ELMA terminal, interested parties are encouraged to visit the company’s website.

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