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AN/USC-38 - Navy EHF SATCOM (NESP)

EHF SATCOM provides jointly interoperable low data rate and future medium and high data rate anti-jam, low probability of intercept/detection connectivity for submarines, ships and ashore. NESP terminals provide Navy units with networked, point-to-point or broadcast connectivity through FLTSAT EHF Packages (FEP), UHF Follow-On (UFO), Milstar of future Polar Adjunct satellites. NESP is the Navy segment of the joint Milstar program. Future improvements to EHF include an advanced EHF waveform, submarine reportback encryption and automated satellite handover.

The Navy Extremely High Frequency (EHF) Satellite Communications Program (NESP) terminal connects ship, shore, and submarine platforms to the Military Strategic, Tactical, and Relay (MILSTAR) satellite constellation. The NESP terminal supports survivable, endurable, and flexible worldwide command and control communications to strategic and tactical Naval forces through all levels of conflict. The NESP terminal provides minimum essential secure communications in stressed environments that require anti-jam and low probability of intercept capabilities.

There are three different configurations of the NESP terminal corresponding to surface ship, shore, and submarine platforms. Although each terminal has the same basic capabilities, their antennas and other peripheral equipment vary by platform. The NESP terminal upgrades added a tactical medium data rate (MDR) capability to the existing strategic low data rate (LDR) capability. A limited number (64) of the existing NESP ship and shore terminals were upgraded with an MDR appliqué to achieve the combined low/medium data rate MILSTAR capability. All existing NESP terminals will be replaced with the follow-on terminal (FOT), which provides the same functionality as the MDR appliqué, but offers technology upgrades in terminal hardware and software. The submarine LDR terminals are also undergoing MDR upgrades, including installation of a new mast with a 16 inch antenna, as well as addition of super high frequency and Global Broadcast Service capabilities.

The Navy EHF SATCOM program developed the current submarine, ship and shore version of AN/USC-38 (V) EHF Low Data Rate (LDR) terminals. The first multiyear production contract will complete in FY98/99 meeting 65% of the terminal inventory objective. Fielding is ongoing. Award of a follow-on production contract for ship and shore EHF LDR and Medium Data Rate (MDR) capable terminals is planned in FY98. This contract will include options to procure SHF and Ka-band terminal components, and provide a means of satisfying fleet requirements with modular, multi-band terminal variants using common hardware. Future submarine EHF requirements will be met with the Submarine HDR system. Today's inventory of AN/USC-38 (V) terminals continue to be improved from their baseline configuration to meet pre-planned Full Milstar LDR Operational Capabilities (FMLOC) and new requirements for MDR and Polar EHF capability. The EHF Medium Data Rate (MDR) appliqué, which increases available data rates to 2 Mbps (shore), is under development and will begin fielding in FY98 to prepare for on-orbit operations of Milstar II in FY99. Joint development of an advanced EHF waveform is being initiated to take advantage of space based digital technology improvements and increase the communication capacity of the military's allocated EHF spectrum.

Submarine High Data Rate [HDR] multi-band SATCOM system integrates the requirements of the EHF, SHF and GBS programs (PMW 176-4) to implement a multifunction communications mast on submarines. Sub HDR supports submarines with high capacity (up to 256 kbs) connectivity for transfer of imagery, data and video. The terminal operates in either the EHF or SHF mode and includes technology improvements for GBS capability. The terminal consists of a non-penetrating SATCOM mast (electrical only penetration) and appropriate inboard equipment. The current configuration makes use of the installed AN/USC-38 (V)1 terminal to implement EHF and adds SHF capability. The system includes a technology upgrade option for GBS capability.

The Navy's EHF Satellite Communications Program (NESP) provides for the acquisition of terminals in four semi-concurrent phases.

Phase I of the NESP program provides Low Data Rate (LDR) jam resistant, low probability of intercept EHF SATCOM terminals for submarines, surface ships, and shore stations in the electromagnetic threat environment projected into the next decade. This requirement is contained in the NESP NDCP dated Apr 89 and the JROC validated Milstar ORD of Jun 92. There is a requirement to procure 319 operational ship and submarine terminals (OPN and SCN), plus five life cycle support systems already bought. This requirement is documented in OPNAV letter Ser N631/6U561112 of 16 Jan 96.

Phase II of the NESP program procures Navy EHF Communications Controllers (NECCs), which provide for the exchange of computer-to-computer tactical communications.

Phase III of the NESP program provides for the procurement of Full Milstar LDR Operational Capabilities (FMLOC). FMLOC efforts include Agile Beam Management (ABM), Over-the-Air-Rekey (OTAR), and In-Band Control (IBC) capabilities required by the JROC validated Milstar ORD. Additionally, the Processor Upgrade Program (PUP) must be implemented to support the terminal throughput and memory requirements of the Phase III capabilities. All of these Phase III efforts will provide essential EHF operational communications capabilities with the current Milstar satellites. Similarly, IBCs will provide interoperable voice communications on all EHF satellites (Milstar, UHF Follow-On (UFO), and FLTSAT EHF Package (FEP)).

Phase IV of the NESP program consists of a Medium Data Rate (MDR) capability which will provide the only protected (jam resistant and low probability of intercept/detection) MDR communications from 4.8 kilobits per second (Kbps) to 1.544 megabits per second (Mbps) to all major fleet combatants with Milstar Satellites 3-6. To meet the Navy's requirement for MDR capable terminals, MDR appliqués will be procured and retrofitted into existing LDR terminals and the balance of the requirements will be procured as part of a combined LDR/MDR terminal follow-on contract beginning in FY 98. Follow-on terminals will also have Phase III FMLOC capabilities incorporated into their baseline. The requirement for MDR is outlined in the JROC validated Milstar ORD and OPNAV letter Ser N631/6U561112 of 16 Jan 96 and must be fielded by FY 99 in order to support the launch schedule of the first Milstar satellite. Prior to receiving the MDR appliqué, existing NESP terminals must have Phase III upgrades due to the processing throughput and memory requirements of MDR.

FY 97 funds will be used to continue the procurement of NECCs and FMLOC equipment. FY 98 funds will be used to procure two (2) combined LDR/MDR follow-on NDI models and initial MDR retrofit appliqués. FY98 also provides for the continued procurement of NECCs and FMLOC equipment. FY 99 funds will be used to begin procurement of combined LDR/MDR follow-on terminals and for continued procurement of MDR appliqués, NECCs, and FMLOC equipment. These procurements will continue in FY00.

At the completion of the LDR IOT&E in 2003, DOT&E concluded that the ship and shore NESP terminals were operationally effective, suitable, and supported full fleet introduction. The MILSTAR LDR submarine terminal requires further testing and refining.



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