Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T)
In September 2002 the U.S. Air Force's Electronic Systems Center (ESC) at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., announced The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] as prime contractor for a six-year, $273 million contract to design and develop the first increment of wideband satellite communications terminals for a transformational Department of Defense initiative known as the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T).
FAB-T is intended to provide strategic forces with a multi-mission capable family of terminals - or radio systems with special purpose antennas - that utilize a common design, open system architecture to talk to different satellites and enable information exchange between ground, air and space platforms. The initiative represents a key building block in Boeing's vision of the integrated battlespace of the future, where networked information and communications' systems provide a competitive edge to decision-makers and military personnel.
The FAB-T program activity will eventually encompass up to 46 airborne platforms with participation from all the armed services. FAB-T is intended to provide a multi-mission capable family of terminals that will utilize a common design and open system architecture, which operates with different satellites, and enable information exchange between ground, air and space platforms. Once operational, it will provide critical, protected beyond line-of-sight communications capability for warfighters via the new AEHF System, a new class of secure satellites that support military forces. In subsequent increments, FAB-T will enable interchange with other national satellite communications systems such as Wideband Gapfiller and Global Broadcast Service.
The selection of Boeing to lead FAB-T, coupled with the recent Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Cluster 1 and Future Combat Systems (FCS) contract awards, further solidifies Boeing's leadership position in the integrated battlespace, estimated to be a $200 billion addressable market over the next decade.
The winning proposal features a flexible system architecture design developed by Boeing that can network the battlespace, accommodate terminal upgrades and meet emerging technology requirements for the DoD. Boeing views the FAB-T architecture as a solution that will address not only today's interoperability problems, but tomorrow's as well.
Other distinguishing features of the proposal include a layered, modular software-defined radio approach, and the collective knowledge, expertise and proven performance that the Boeing team brings to the FAB-T design and program execution.
Boeing has assembled a best-of-industry team, comprised of the nation's leading satellite systems, communications terminals and high performance data link providers, to execute the terms of the contract for the first increment. Principal members include Harris Corporation's Government Communications Systems division of Melbourne, Fla.; L-3 Communications' Communications Systems West division of Salt Lake City, Utah; TRW, Inc.'s Command, Control and Intelligence Division of Fairfax, Va. and ViaSat, Inc.'s Communications Systems Group of Carlsbad, Calif.
As prime contractor and lead system integrator, Boeing will be responsible for the systems engineering and integration, system and terminal architecture, software development, test and evaluation, integrated logistics support and communications engineering, with key support provided by Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, Calif. Harris will be responsible for the integration of terminal and antenna hardware; L-3 Communications will be responsible for the development of the modem processor; TRW will be responsible for Advanced Extremely High Frequency waveform management; and ViaSat will be responsible for the communications security module hardware and information security. The team will design and develop the first increment of wideband satellite communication terminals that will provide the military with critical protected communications. The six-year system design and development contract is valued at $273 million for Boeing, which will be managed by the MILSATCOM Terminals Office at Electronic Systems Center (ESC), Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.
FAB-T program activity will be carried out in multiple phases. The first increment, managed by the MILSATCOM Terminals Office at ESC, will include the integration of terminals onboard airborne platforms, as well as in various ground-based command posts. Future increments will encompass up to 41 additional airborne platforms with participation from all the armed services.
On 09 October 2002 L-3 Communications announced that its Communication Systems - West division had been selected as a member of the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems-led team for the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T). L-3 will be responsible for the high performance modem, baseband and networking interfaces, including the system CPU, which will run the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protocols. The modem and baseband sections are fully programmable and will enable the users to access all identified satellite systems, thus providing the capability to interact with and manage command and control networks, intelligence dissemination, mission data and target/threat updates. This will be achieved by providing a multiple band capability with simultaneous operation over multiple channels in a fully programmable environment for beyond line-of-sight communications not available today.
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