US-based technology company ViaSat has secured a Boeing contract to provide communication services and network operability for the US Army's AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters.
Under the terms of the agreement, the company will supply around 90 Link 16 small tactical terminals (STT) for production Lots 5 and 6 of the helicopter.
ViaSat Government Systems Division senior vice-president and general manager Ken Peterman said: "The AH-64E Apache award is a significant milestone for ViaSat in that it enables us to deliver critical communications capabilities for army aviation while providing a logistically common solution for Link 16 needs across multiple applications.
"Our strategy in the defence market has been to recognise critical warfighter needs and apply our commercial model to develop inventive solutions with availability years ahead, and at a fraction of the total cost, of traditional US Department of Defence (DoD) programmes of record."
The two-channel, software-defined STT is expected to enhance real-time combat communications and network interoperability within the fleet.
The STT will allow the helicopters to stay on the Link 16 network while simultaneously swapping waveforms and network connections on a second channel.
The system will also merge disparate networks and deliver situational awareness throughout the mission.
The Apache is currently operational in the UK, the Netherlands, Israel and Egypt.
Image: An AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter. Photo: courtesy of US Army.