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When satellites aren’t enough: How troposcatter technology keeps troops connected

June 10 2024

By Chris Bishop, CGO

Quote

"On today’s modern battlefield, communication is perhaps the most critical element of success. By synergizing troposcatter technology and satellite communications, military forces can achieve an unparalleled level of communication resilience, redundancy, and flexibility."

In today's complex world of modern warfare, having reliable and resilient communication networks is more critical than ever. Military operations are becoming increasingly intricate, and our communication systems need to keep up, adapting to diverse environments and challenges.

Two key technologies in a military's communication toolkit are satellite communications (SATCOM) and troposcatter technology. SATCOM has been a go-to solution for global connectivity for years, and for good reason. It allows military forces to transmit voice, data, and video across vast distances, enabling real-time communication and coordination between units scattered across the globe.

As powerful as SATCOM is, it's not without its limitations. When you're dealing with rugged terrain, jamming, or high interference, satellite communications can face some serious hurdles. A day without satellite communication is a realistic scenario in today’s modern warfare landscape. That's where troposcatter technology comes in as a perfect complement.

Synergizing troposcatter and satellite communications

Troposcatter systems work by bouncing radio waves off the troposphere, allowing them to establish robust communication links over long ranges without relying on line-of-sight or satellite infrastructure.

Troposcatter technology offers a complementary solution to satellite communications, addressing many of the challenges faced by traditional SATCOM systems:

Terrain-obstructed areas: When mountains, buildings, or other obstacles get in the way, troposcatter technology can still scatter signals and keep communication flowing.

Quick deployment in mobile units: It's also incredibly portable and can be deployed rapidly, making it ideal for mobile military units that need to stay connected on the move or in remote locations.

Combating jamming and high interference: Troposcatter is less susceptible to these disruptions, providing a more secure and reliable communication channel in contested environments.

Combining troposcatter and SATCOM into dual-mode communication systems brings a host of technological and strategic advantages to the table. If one system hits a snag, the other can seamlessly take over, ensuring uninterrupted communication and operational continuity.

This synergy boosts communication resilience, improves global coverage and connectivity in diverse and remote environments, and enhances operational flexibility and mobility. The unique propagation characteristics of troposcatter also makes it less vulnerable to detection and interception, improving communication security and operational secrecy.

Continued research and development are necessary to enhance the overall performance, efficiency, and seamless integration of troposcatter and satellite communication systems. Tackling these challenges through ongoing technological advancements will be crucial to fully realizing the potential of this powerful communication paradigm.

On today’s modern battlefield, communication is perhaps the most critical element of success. By synergizing troposcatter technology and satellite communications, military forces can achieve an unparalleled level of communication resilience, redundancy, and flexibility. This dual-mode approach not only enhances operational capabilities but also provides a strategic advantage of flexibility to meet warfighter needs in any scenario.

The Archer™ family of troposcatter systems is pushing the boundaries of modern military communications, meeting the growing demand for resilient and adaptable networks.

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