ViaSat tapped to provide tactical terminals for Apache helicopters

By Ryan Maass  |  Jan. 28, 2016 at 9:09 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- ViaSat has been contracted to provide 90 Link 16 Small Tactical Terminals for Boeing's lots 5 and 6 AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters.

Link 16 SSTs are designed to enhance pilots' situational awareness. The device allows the user to maintain a Link 16 connection while also being able to switch waveforms and network connections. They can also be used to merge disparate networks.

"The AH-64E Apache award is a significant milestone for ViaSat in that it enables us to deliver critical communications capabilities for Army aviation while providing a logistically common solution for Link 16 needs across multiple applications," ViaSat Government Systems senior vice president and general manager Ken Peterman said in a statement.

The AH-64E Apache is a Boeing-made multirole attack helicopter used by the U.S. Army and other armed forces around the world. The helicopter is equipped with a 30mm M230 chain gun, and is capable of carrying AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.

ViaSat officials say their contribution to Boeing's production lines will make the helicopters safer for pilots to fly.

"Our strategy in the defense market has been to recognize critical warfighter needs and apply our commercial model to develop inventive solutions with availability years ahead of, and at a fraction of the total cost of traditional DoD programs of record," Peterman added. "We see this AH-64E Apache award as validation for our strategy and a key first step in laying the groundwork for future terminals that will provide key operational data to warfighters but in form factors previously considered unimaginable."

The contract's value was not disclosed.

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