Global Xpress put to the test in the Alaskan Northern Slope

Inmarsat Value Added Reseller (VAR) Partner L-3 GCS, a leading provider of SATCOM systems for the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security, as well as federal agencies and commercial sector customers, has participated in a successful field test utilising Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) service.

The exercise was conducted by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) in Barrow, Alaska – located north of the Arctic Circle on the Alaskan Northern slope.

The field test involved the L-3 GCS Panther II, Cheetah II and Hawkeye III VSAT systems on commercial Ku-band, MILSATCOM (X- and Ka-band) as well as Inmarsat’s GX satellite communication network.

Reliable performance

“L-3 GCS was honored to be selected as a partner for this important operational testing,” said Bob Jacobson, President of L-3 GCS and L-3’s Tactical SATCOM sector.

“Our Panther II, Cheetah II and Hawkeye III terminals performed exceptionally well given the extremely low look angle and harsh environmental conditions.

We recognise the importance of critical communications in the Arctic and remain committed to providing the highest level of quality and reliability to our valued customers deployed in the region.”

Deployable SATCOM

The testing team was on the ground for five consecutive days with the goal of providing verifiable, real-world data relative to USNORTHCOM’s utilisation of deployable SATCOM terminals and satellite bandwidth in the area.

Giving larger operational areas, such as remote command posts, the ability to utilise wideband, narrowband and small team satellite communications was a major objective of the field test.

L-3’s GCS Hawkeye III Lite 1.2M VSAT was an integral part of the testing, as this terminal is currently owned and operated by Alaska Command (ALCOM) and known within the command as the DCCS-LCM Rapid Response Kit (RRK). The command’s ultimate goal is to provide all current deployed units with commercial data, voice and video services.

GX stable operation

Utilising the Inmarsat GX commercial Ka-band global network, L-3’s GX-compatible Cheetah II was provisioned with a 2 Mbps by 2 Mbps data link and achieved a signal-to-noise ratio of 10.7 dB. The link remained stable for several days and supported multiple video streams and simultaneous web browsing.

This exercise also demonstrated the ability of the Inmarsat GX service, in conjunction with the L-3 GCS Cheetah II terminal, to operate at a look angle of less than 8 degrees. This low look angle is typical for geosynchronous satellite usage north of the Arctic Circle.