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- September 7th, 2023 Posted in News

Collaboration will focus on potential development of a lightweight, low cost and high-speed terminal

Viasat UK Ltd., a subsidiary of global communications company Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), and Oxford Space Systems (OSS) announced a new collaboration to jointly explore the creation of new satellite communications technology and capability to better support dismounted soldiers or other users, such as disaster recovery and aid workers, that need fast access to high capacity communications networks. Specifically, the collaborative work will focus on the research and development of a new low size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) terminal that is both easy to use and rapidly deployable for users operating on the ground in austere environments. Research has shown carrying large and heavy equipment can impact mission effectiveness and user mobility, increase injury risks and even the ability to effectively perform other duties.

As part of the collaboration, the organizations will research the system requirements and design needed to deliver a terminal that can deliver Ka-band high speed satellite communications (SATCOM) while also reducing the physical transport burden on warfighters or other users with a low SWaP terminal solution compared to current military and commercial terminals. The work will build on current research being done by OSS and the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on C-band deployable antennas, however, the new work will focus on developing a smaller and higher performance Ka-band antenna. Viasat is expected to provide the network, terminal certification, RF equipment, and system engineering support for the development of this innovative terminal that will appeal to customers in the UK and export markets.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Oxford Space Systems to examine how we can better deliver a high-speed and ruggedised SATCOM solution that also addresses the real operational need to reduce the weight of land terminals soldiers carry,” said Hisham Awad, managing director of Viasat UK. “We believe OSS expertise and innovation with deployable antennas will combine with Viasat’s experience in advanced networks and integration to develop a low cost, high-performance and highly portable SATCOM solution that can literally ease the burden on users’ shoulders.”

“This research and development collaboration will allow us to build our relationship with Viasat in the UK and expand how we bring our innovations in space antennas to directly support the creation of solutions on the ground. Our collective development experience will accelerate the understanding and delivery of technology that is more cost effective and lightweight while still providing the high-speed performance users need,” said Sean Sutcliffe CEO of Oxford Space Systems.

Viasat and OSS are both part of the Harwell Space Cluster, located at Harwell Science and Innovation campus in the UK. The partnership will also explore other areas of mutual interest where the complimentary expertise and experience across both organizations can be used to address real-world obstacles through additional research and the development of new solutions.

You can visit the Viasat website for more information on its fleet of SATCOM terminal solutions for defence users, and visit the Oxford Space Systems website to learn more about its work and products on deployable antennas for space.