“I feel the best solution for the industry is through developing mitigation technologies because the diplomatic channels available to resolve jamming issues simply take too long,” said Mark Daniels, Vice President of Engineering and Operations for Intelsat General (IGC).
Speaking in an October 29th story in Via Satellite, “Stepping up the Combative Strategy”, Daniels joined several industry members in assessing intentional jamming. Experts agree that while global jamming issues are “95-98 percent unintentional,” a large percentage of the remaining intentional jamming is concentrated in the Middle East and North Africa.
Jamming, like most of the political issues in the region, remains unresolved and eludes diplomatic efforts at doing so. Yet, satellite technology has innovated and now has new ways to efficiently manage increasing numbers of jamming incidents.
“These satellites will have on-board interference mitigation capabilities that will allow us to tackle interference that reaches these satellites” Daniels said. “Additionally, we are developing ground-based capabilities, like digital signal-processing modems that take the interference out of the downlink signal. In removing this interference, the jamming can’t be passed on further. We expect to deploy this technology this year.”
He added, “Furthermore, we will be deploying protected wave forms (PTW) in the future for use with commercial satellites. These will be built into modems that will be able to operate even in an environment where there is interference. We have some existing products already available commercially off the shelf, and we are working to develop our technology further into new, more advanced products.”
A soon-to-be launched spacecraft in Intelsat’s next-generation EpicNG constellation of high-throughput satellites, the Intelsat 33E, will be slotted over the Middle East to serve the region, as well as North Africa and Europe.
Earlier this year, IGC participated in tests led by the Air Force that validated the PTW modem performance over the Intelsat EpicNG platform. An important part of a multi-layer security approach, PTW will offer customers the best and most resilient SATCOM available from the commercial industry.
IGC plans to use PTW over steerable Ku spot beams as a commercial protected capability.
Satellite technology improvement never plateaus. As potential conditions for jamming worsen because of state actors’ increased technical capability in a more contested environment, IGC continues developing technology with an eye toward resilient communications capabilities.