Future Trends

Viasat, AeroVironment to Build Enhanced Encrypted Communications for Army Drones

Unmanned aircraft systems

Viasat, AeroVironment to Build Enhanced Encrypted Communications for Army Drones

Viasat and AeroVironment will team up to provide the U.S. Army with small unmanned aircraft systems capable of deploying encrypted communications networks to counter adversaries. 

The two companies will work on a contract awarded under the Army Reconfigurable Communications for Small Unmanned Systems program to implement the advanced system in response to growing electronic warfare capabilities of peer and near-peer rivals. 

As the main contractor, Viasat will design the advanced and encrypted communications that will match AeroVironment’s portable, hand-launched Puma tactical UAS

The two organizations also aim to improve the communications and transmission security of AeroVironment's digital data link radios that the U.S. Army use by turning the devices into a Type 1 crypto communication network for video and data transmission. 

In addition, they will develop interoperability standards to allow drones to produce a digitally encrypted communications system through embedded DDL waveforms. The design is expected to safeguard classified data and enhance waveform performance in jamming environments. 

Ken Peterman, Viasat president for government systems, said the company’s military-grade cryptography and electronic countermeasure tactical waveform are meant to accelerate the expansion of secure communications to various small unmanned systems working at the tactical edge. 

"By collaborating with AeroVironment, an established leader in the tactical UAS sector, we can help the U.S. Army set new waveform standards that maximize connectivity and minimize the risk of signal intercept," he said.

Scott Newbern, AeroVironment chief technology officer, said as the armed forces plan to operate against peer and near-peer military adversaries equipped with advanced electronic warfare capabilities, the need for more secure communication capabilities grows. 

"We will work with Viasat to provide customers requiring enhanced, secure communication capabilities with a portable, practical solution for maintaining secure communications via tactical unmanned aircraft systems operating at the battlefield's edge," he said. 

Viasat is a communications company based in Carlsbad, California while AeroVironment is an unmanned aerial vehicles manufacturer headquartered in Simi Valley, California.

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Category: Future Trends

Tags: AeroVironment communication network Digital Data Link Future Trends Ken Peterman Puma AE RCSUS Scott Newbern U.S. Army U.S. Army Reconfigurable Communications for Small Unmanned Systems UAS platforms unmanned system Viasat