Navy eyes high-speed SATCOM for P-8A
Poseidon surveillance aircraft
BY John Keller
PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. — U.S. Navy
avionics experts are moving forward with a project to upgrade the
Navy fleet of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and anti-submarine
warfare (ASW) aircraft with high-speed satellite communications
Officials of the Naval Air Systems
Command at Patuxent River Naval Air
Station, Md., announced a $16.3 million order to the Boeing Co. in Seattle
to develop an airworthy design to
integrate a Wideband Global SATCOM
system radome and supporting infrastructure on the P-8A aircraft.
The Wideband Global SATCOM
system, otherwise known as WGS, is
a high-capacity SATCOM link for the
U.S. and Australian militaries that
will augment and eventually replace
Defense Satellite Communications
System (DSCS) and Global Broadcast
Service (GBS) satellites.
One WGS spacecraft has as much
bandwidth as the entire existing
DSCS constellation, experts say.
WGS will offer 4.875 GHz of instantaneous switchable bandwidth;
thus, each WGS can supply more
than 10 times the capacity of a
DSCS III Service Life Enhancement
Program (SLEP) satellite.
WGS- 1, launched in 2007, has 2. 4
gigabit-per-second wideband capacity, which provides greater capability and bandwidth than all the DSCS
Users include the Australian and
Canadian militaries, as well as and
U.S. Army ground mobile terminals,
U.S. Navy ships and submarines,
national command authorities for
the nuclear forces, and various
national security and allied national
forces. Previous to the WGS, the U.S.
military relied on DSCS and GPS
satellites for wideband SATCOM.
The Boeing Defense, Space &
Security segment in Seattle will
design a WGS SATCOM system
radome and supporting infrastruc-
ture from a preliminary design
review level of maturity to a criti-
cal design review level of maturity
aboard Navy P-8A aircraft.
The P- 8 is a militarized version
of the Boeing 737 single-aisle jet-
liner. It is designed for high- and
low-altitude maritime patrol and
The P-8A is designed for anti-
surface warfare and ship-
ping interdiction. It can
carry torpedoes, depth charges,
Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and
other weapons. It also can drop
and monitor sonobuoys, and oper-
ate together with the Northrop
Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad
Area Maritime Surveillance
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The P-8A also has a growing and
sophisticated suite for electronic
surveillance and signals intelligence
(SIGINT) systems which enable the
aircraft to widen its role beyond
maritime patrol and ASW to strate-
gic reconnaissance duties.
On this order Boeing will do the
work in Seattle, and should be fin-
ished by October 2018. Í
FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Boeing
Defense, Space & Security online at
and Naval Air Systems Command
Future Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft may be fitted with high-speed satellite
communications to provide Internet in the sky capability.