L-3 Communication Systems-West has awarded a contract modification to XTAR to continue provision of X-band satellite connectivity in support of the US Army's manned airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (AISR) missions.
Under the contract, XTAR, a joint venture between Loral Space and Communications and HISDESAT Servicios Estratégicos, to deliver space segment capacity on multiple XTAR-EUR beams, including the Middle East and global beams, over the next year.
The satellite is expected to support connectivity to army-operated King Air 350 and Bombardier-built Dash 8 twin-engined, medium-range, turboprop aircraft.
XTAR president and chief operating officer, Philip Harlow, said the appetite for satellite bandwidth is on the increase, even as the US military prepares to withdraw from areas of major conflict.
''Bandwidth to efficiently transmit large volumes of data is critical to the nation's security,'' Harlow said.
''Space segment users who facilitate AISR missions represent one of XTAR's fastest growing customer bases.''
The capacity of the contracted satellite has successfully been increased from the previous amount to help address growing requirements, which include achieving higher data rates and supporting additional aircraft.
Based on Space Systems/Loral's space-proven 1300 platform, the XTAR-EUR is a high-power commercial X-band communications satellite, designed to work with both existing X- band terminals, and the next generation X-band terminals that feature antennas smaller than 2.4m.
Located at 29° East longitude, the satellite provides X-band coverage from Eastern Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean, across all of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, to as far east as Singapore.
The satellite features 12 wideband and high-power X-band transponders, and enables US forces and allied forces to move their X-band spot beam coverage over any distance required in real time.