US special ops orders inflatable satellite antennas

WASHINGTON — U.S. Special Operations Command could order up to $172 million worth of inflatable satellite communications terminals under a new five-year contract with GATR Technologies, a subsidiary of Cubic Corp.

By using an inflatable radome, GATR Technologies’ antennas are designed to be ultra-portable and easy to set up. The smaller version can be set up in less than 20 minutes, while the larger can be set up in less than 30 minutes.

Consisting of five one-year ordering periods, the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract provides for the procurement of 1.2-meter and 2.4-meter inflatable satellite communications terminals and related equipment. The contract was issued as a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research award by USSOCOM on Aug. 3.

According to the company’s website, its 1.2-meter expeditionary terminal weighs less than 75 pounds and can be packed in a single case — making it 50 percent smaller and lighter than similarly sized rigid antennas. The 2.4-meter terminal weighs less than 100 pounds, can be packed into two cases, and results in an “80 percent reduction in pack-out weight and volume compared to deployable rigid antennas.”

The 1.2-meter terminal can communicate on the Ku-band, while the larger 2.4 meter terminal can utilize Ku-, C-, X- and Ka-bands.

In 2018, the U.S. Army issued a $522 million contract modification to GATR Technologies for inflatable satellite antennas, related parts and training, bringing the total value of the contract to more than $960 million. GATR Technologies is also one of dozens of companies to have been awarded a $950 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract this year for various future Joint All-Domain Command and Control technologies, software and services.

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