4G Tactical Backbone Network Streams Video 62 Miles Between Two Antennas

A team from General Dynamics Missions Systems announced that they have successfully streamed video 62 miles between two tactical antennas. The feat was achieved during the Marine Corps-sponsored Ship-to-Shore Maneuver, Exploration and Experimentation (S2ME2) Task Force Demonstration at Camp Pendleton on April 20, 2017. The engineering team participated in the event through a cooperative research and development agreement with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Titled the “Long Shot,” the project is an internally funded research and development project to show the viability of a 4G tactical network capable of providing broadband communications over the ocean in a satellite denied or degraded environment. The test was completed between San Clemente, off the coast of southern California, and Red Beach at Camp Pendleton, just north of San Diego. It involved a streaming video transmission, 62 miles from an antenna mounted on a mobile tower on San Clemente Island (representing an aerostat deployment from a ship at sea or within a sea base) to a tactically deployed antenna at Red Beach.

The Long Shot capability doubles the distance of existing legacy line of sight communications while simultaneously providing increased bandwidth for streaming video. This allows naval task forces to position sea bases over the horizon, thus limiting line of sight targeting options of potential adversaries during a conflict. Additionally, it supports naval task force communications in a satellite denied or degraded environment. The new capability will use a similar architecture as today’s commercial networks and is an example of leveraging commercial technology to solve a military operational need. The system will be able to bridge to civilian networks as necessary.

The S2ME2 Task Force Demonstration event provides war-fighters the opportunity to assess the operational utility of emerging technical and engineering innovations in amphibious warfare concepts of operations. General Dynamics will demonstrate this capability to the Navy and Marine Corps at additional events later this year.