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Very Small Aperture Terminal Family of Systems

Last Revised: January 13, 2017, 1:10 pm
  • Marines from 8th Communication Battalion stand by their display at the II Marine Headquarters Group Enabler Battalion Capability Expo on January 15. 8th Comm Bn featured a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT-L), a two way satellite used to send transmissions to other ground satellites.
    Marines from 8th Communication Battalion stand by their display at the II Marine Headquarters Group Enabler Battalion Capability Expo on January 15. 8th Comm Bn featured a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT-L), a two way satellite used to send transmissions to other ground satellites.
Description: 

Very Small Aperture Terminal Family of Systems (VSAT FoS):  Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) is an integrated Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) satellite communication (SATCOM) system that is the Marine Corps' primary access to the Teleport.  VSAT allows distributed MAGTF operations providing  the reach back capability to transmit critical command and control information.  VSAT systems' modular architecture supports technology insertion through scalable and flexible SATCOM technologies. VSAT uses commercial Ku and military Ka  and X frequency bands to provide the MAGTF beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) connectivity to support interdependent battalion/squadron level data communications (NIPRNET, SIPRNET, secure/unsecure telephony).  A recent addition to the FoS is the VSAT-Expeditionary (VSAT-E) (formerly called Expeditionary Command and Control Suite) packaged in transit/suitcases.  VSAT-E provides reachback, via a Consolidated Base Station (CBS) at each MEF, to higher headquarters for early entry forces until larger Command and Control (C2) systems are established.  The rest of the VSAT FoS  includes a  VSAT-Small (1.2 meter antenna) with Ka-band kit and VSAT-Medium (1.8 meter antenna) with Ka-band kit packaged in ruggedized transit cases, and a VSAT-Large (2.4 meter antenna) trailer mounted with X-band kit.  The VSAT-Large will, when FOC is achieved, provide dual shot capability via modification to the signal entry panel and the addition of an external antenna. 

Operational Impact: 

The mission of VSAT is to support MAGTF operations by providing an integrated, secure, Near Real-Time (NRT), reliable,  long-range, and rapidly deployable communications capability that complements existing military networks and is capable of supporting large numbers of geographically dispersed users.  VSAT is capable of supporting high bandwidth voice, video, and data applications in order to support the exchange of C2, intelligence and logistics information throughout the operational environment.  The VSAT FoS architecture constitutes a logical progression to USMC SATCOM capabilities allowing forward deployed elements greater flexibility at increased distances from their command elements.  It will also allow these forward elements to communicate with each other directly allowing shorter response times and more effective coordination.  The VSAT FoS will be used as intra-theater satellite communications asset and will provide Defense Information Systems Network services via Gateway facilities.  When directed by the MAGTF Commander, VSAT-L may directly access Gateway sites from any location.  The VSAT FoS will provide the MAGTF Command Element (CE) increased flexibility by eliminating reliance on terrestrial limitations (e.g. distance and terrain).  It allows simultaneous communications with all subordinate elements over increased geographical and Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) environments.

Program Milestone Status: 

Post MC C.  Current program office efforts include the modification of the signal entry panel to accommodate the external antenna requirement.  This modification will provide the VSAT-Large with a dual shot capability.  Sustainment efforts are upgrades to servers, switches, and network packages.  A Capability Based Assessment Integrated Product Team has been chartered to determine the best approach for the Next Generation SATCOM capability.

Program Procurement: 
IOC (VSAT-Small/Medium with Ka-band upgrade kit, VSAT-Large with X-band upgrade kit) Sep 2018 (VSAT-L with External Antenna) FOC Apr 2016 (VSAT-Small/Medium with Ka-band upgrade kit) August 2016 (VSAT-E) Sep 2020 (VSAT-Large with External Antenna)
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