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  • Satellite Evolution Group

Viasat launches Black ICE Software Defined Radio platform


Viasat announced announced the launch of its Black ICE Software Defined Radio (SDR) family of modem solutions. The Black ICE SDR modem solutions enable the integration of commercial off-the-shelf and custom waveforms, allowing secure data transmission for mission-critical operations.

With the increasing use of uncrewed Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations, combatant commands require a reliable, flexible, secure, low size, weight and power (SWaP) solution that provides consistent communications coverage to support their missions.

The Black ICE SDR product line enables a host of new innovative capabilities via the proven and reliable ELERA L-band and Global Xpress Ka-band networks, augmenting US Government resources for land, sea and air communications worldwide.

Black ICE SDRs are designed to meet high-demand requirements of military users by offering security, flexibility, low form factor and high-performance terminals. The solutions support Xilinx and Intel Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) architectures in both L-band and Ka-band, as well as OpenAMIP for antenna management. Additionally, it enables a reduction in SWaP for L-band LAISR user terminals, further supporting customers’ BLOS communications requirements for open architecture, security, low form factor terminals and high performance.

Leveraging the resilient, secure, and easy-to-use ELERA L-band network, Black ICE SDR allows for flexible waveform integration and provides low SWaP solutions that meet challenging user terminal form factor and performance requirements for beyond line of sight (BLOS) communications on crewed and uncrewed platforms, as well as expeditionary Command and Control (C2) operations.

For Ka-band customers, Black ICE can be integrated into standard Global Xpress Ka-band terminals via G-MODMAN II and Open Platform (OP) modem manager technology to enable the addition of a special waveform service. Through the special waveform service, US Government Global Xpress customers will be able to access alternative waveforms to satisfy specific high-demanding mission requirements, such as high data rate and resiliency necessary in congested and contested environments.

More complex waveforms and enhancements are in development and will enter commercial service later in 2023 to offer new features and provide customers more flexibility in addressing evolving mission requirements. Additionally, Black ICE will enable the addition of future enhanced special waveform features so that the service can utilize the capabilities of Viasat’s next-generation satellites.

Matt Wissler, Chief Technology Officer at Viasat Government Systems, said, “With the increasing use of beyond line-of-sight communications as part of ISR and C2 missions, US Government customers require a high-performance solution that maximizes platform range and reduces signatures for land, sea and air. The Black ICE SDR platform provides customers with solutions that enable flexible waveform integration and allow them to securely transmit large volumes of data while meeting the SWaP requirements of these platforms.

“We are excited to offer our Black ICE family of modem solutions to our US Government customers. This innovative capability enhances our current service offerings and enables us to prepare new mission-specific solutions that will leverage the capabilities of our next-generation satellites while delivering additional value to the end user,” Wissler added.

For more information visit: https://www.inmarsatgov.com/capabilities/black-ice-sdr/

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