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12 Jan 05. General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD – News), has successfully demonstrated its SATCOM-On-The-Move(TM) (SOTM) terminal, the military’s first vehicle- mounted terminal for satellite communications using the Ku-band, during field trials for the U.S. Army. The SOTM terminal, the first such system to be licensed by the FCC for use in the United States, is ruggedized for use by military forces and can be mounted on a wide variety of vehicles to provide reliable, high-bandwidth voice and data communications over satellite.

Developed for use under General Dynamics’ VertexRSI brand, the SOTM terminal was successfully demonstrated from November 29 to December 2, 2004, at the Army’s Signal Center at Fort Gordon, Ga. Since it operates at Ku-band, data rates in excess of 1.54 Mbps — 24 times that of current L-band terminals — are achievable. The faster data rates mean that real-time, full-motion video as well as large data and image files may be communicated in seconds, as opposed to many minutes or hours. High-speed, robust mobile communications are a requirement for programs like Warfighter Information Network — Tactical (WIN-T) and the U.S. Marine Corps’ Command and Control On-The-Move Network Digital Over-The-Horizon Relay (CONDOR). Today’s lighter, more agile fighting forces can quickly relocate beyond the range of stationary communication systems.

“The General Dynamics SATCOM-On-The-Move terminal offers the unique capability of powerful, continuous operation while traveling over any type of terrain,” said Brent Finemore, director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Development for General Dynamics C4 Systems. “This terminal will revolutionize communications in combat operations by providing the fully ruggedized SATCOM- On-The-Move capability required by today’s soldiers on the fighting edge.”

The General Dynamics SOTM terminal provides full-duplex, high data rate communications, including voice and full-motion video while moving over obstacles and off-road terrain. The test utilized the Intelsat 707 satellite, standard commercial Ku-band frequencies and appropriate standard FDMA modems.

“This is the first wideband terminal to communicate from a moving vehicle to a fixed ground station — and this technology is ready now,” added Finemore. Earlier versions of SATCOM systems transmitting from moving tactical vehicles provided only narrowband capabilities.

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