ViaSat to produce small tactical terminals for AH-64E Apache Guardian aircraft


ViaSat has been contracted to produce and deliver small tactical terminals (STTs) for AH-64E Apache Guardian aircraft.

Under the contract awarded by Boeing, ViaSat will produce KOR-24A Link 16 terminal for use on Apache Guardian helicopters operated by the US Army and international foreign military.

The contract covers the production of at least 534 two-channel STTs over the next four years.

ViaSat Next Generation Tactical Datalink Systems business area director Andy Kessler said: "This award, along with other customers for the STT, has caused us to initiate a pre-planned production ramp up to approximately 35 terminals per month, leveraging investments we have already made in our capacity based upon this forecast demand.

"Coupled with more than 600 terminals already in the field today, we expect to eclipse 1,000 STTs deployed worldwide by early in 2018.

"At the same time we are deploying the terminals in greater numbers, we will be rolling out additional new capabilities to enhance our products' capacity to help solve warfighter problems."

The STTs being delivered under the contract will provide a Link 16 common operating picture for enhanced situational awareness and a soldier radio waveform (SRW) capability to bridge communications between aircraft and ground manoeuvre forces, ViaSat stated.

These systems are fully interoperable with a programme of record terminals, such as the multifunctional information distribution system-low volume terminal (MIDS-LVT) and multifunctional information distribution system joint tactical radio system (MIDS JTRS).

"ViaSat's STT remains the terminal of choice for rotary wing and other size, weight and power-constrained aircraft, and ground vehicle platforms."

The STTS can also be integrated with other ViaSat NDI products, including the AN/PRC-161 battlefield awareness and targeting system-dismounted (BATS-D) handheld Link 16 radio.

ViaSat Government Systems president Ken Peterman said: "ViaSat's STT remains the terminal of choice for rotary wing and other size, weight and power-constrained aircraft, and ground vehicle platforms.

"By offering a family of complementary Link 16 solutions - that are both affordable and available today - ViaSat can ensure warfighters have needed information in a form factor that best fits their needs."

The Boeing-built AH-64E Apache is an advanced multi-role combat helicopter used by the US Army and a growing number of international defence forces.


Image: An AH-64 Apache from the US Army. Photo: courtesy of US Army - by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway.