Support Wide Area Network (SWAN)
With an emphasis on interoperability with Army and other communications systems, the Marine Corps' Support Wide Area Network (SWAN) program is providing warfighters in Iraq and elsewhere with robust, beyond-line-of-sight communications for a broad spectrum of information services including video, multimedia, data and imagery. The SWAN program is acquiring this equipment through the Army's World-Wide Satellite Systems (WWSS) contract, which is intended to provide communications systems that are capable of overcoming existing and projected bandwidth constraints for Department of Defense transformation programs worldwide. WWSS is available to support all federal communications missions, including disaster relief and homeland security efforts.
SWAN is an integrated, IP-based communications system that utilizes commercial satellite terminals, network baseband equipment, wireless systems, software, and support personnel to provide forward-deployed Marines with robust communications capabilities. The various SWAN programs provide connectivity for the delivery of mission-critical communications such as surveillance video from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and data support services. The Marines began fielding SWAN in 2004. By October 2007 they were fielding the "SWAN D" version to all the Marine Expeditionary Units [MEUs] and to I Marine Expeditionary Force [MEF], II MEF, and III MEF Major Subordinate Commands [MSC].
The Marines have been trying to make the SWAN program as interoperable as possible with the Army's Joint Network Node (JNN). The Marines have been doing Urgent-Universal Needs Statement (U-UNS) fieldings since 2004 but will be transitioning to a program of record in 2008. They submitted a Program Objective Memorandum (POM)-08 initiative and according to program managers, they should be getting presidential budget funding in 2008 through 2013. Officials were waiting for the 2008 budget to be approved with the exact level of funding.
The Marines started out using commercial Ku bandwidth quite heavily for SWAN. They've been able to put their bandwidth provider, Arrowhead, on contract and establish worldwide commercial Ku bandwidth portability. Whenever a unit wants to train in CONUS or in the PACRIM area out of Okinawa, they have base pools of bandwidth available that the units use. In Iraq, the Marines have another pool of bandwidth specifically for SWANs in Iraq. "They use the CONUS and PACRIM pools of bandwidth for training, and when we need to use the equipment in another location worldwide for exercise or contingency support, we're able to port the bandwidth from those pools within 14 days in normal operations or within 48 hours for emergencies," program manager Joseforsky said. "We've had a lot of success with the worldwide deployable bandwidth, especially with the MEU deployments the last year. Having this portable bandwidth is critical to the support of the SWAN equipment."
General Dynamics SATCOM has received three delivery orders for satellite communications terminals that are being used in the SWAN program. Under these orders, the Marines requested quantities of General Dynamics Warrior 120 (1.2 meter) and Warrior 180 (1.8 meter) VSAT flyaway terminals and 2.4-meter trailer-mounted terminals for quick-setup tactical communications. DataPath provides the 2.4-meter terminals.
General Dynamics SATCOM says the Warrior terminals, which can operate across C, X, Ku and Ka bands (Ku and Ka for SWAN) and different access techniques, meet the challenge of networkcentric operations, conforming with Transformation Communications Architecture requirements to allow Joint Forces Command and international forces to communicate with compatible systems.
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