Pass This Along

A government-academia-industry team led by Air Force specialists from the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass., in early March conducted a series of flight tests to gauge the performance of a prototype communications waveform. It holds the promise of significantly enhancing the Air Force’s ability to transmit large amounts of data—up to hundreds of megabits of sensor data per second—quickly from airborne platforms like RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles through military communications satellites to ground users beyond line of sight. These tests occurred under the rubric of the high data rate airborne terminal, or HDR-AT, program and represented the first time that an airborne system has successfully accessed the high-capacity Ka-band portion of USAF’s new Wideband Global Satcom satellites, according to Hanscom officials. The team hopes to conduct another flight test in the late summer to verify improvements. (Hanscom report by Chuck Paone)