The US Army has awarded a contract to ViaSat for next-generation blue force tracking (BFT) equipment.

Under the $477m contract, the company will deliver the BFT system as part of the army’s Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) programme.

BFT is a high-speed, high-capacity and low-latency command and control satellite communication system, which enables the armed forces to monitor regularly updated troop positions on screens in vehicles and aircraft to distinguish friendly and enemy forces.

The BFT programme will be further transformed to BFT-2, an open IP-standard communication network.

The US Army has already tested the second generation BFT-2 terminal prototypes, which have demonstrated efficiency gain and latency reduction thereby improving situational awareness and accuracy.

Derived from ViaSat ArcLight mobile satellite communication technology, the BFT-2 also enables satellite channels to accommodate more simultaneous users and messages.

ViaSat also received a $37.7m contract for the delivery of first article and initial production terminals, and other ground networking equipment to US Army.