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ViaSat Receives $13.8 Million Follow-on Delivery Orders for BFT-2 — Press Release

ViaSat Receives $13.8 Million Follow-on Delivery Orders for BFT-2

Orders affirm government desire to transition to enhanced BFT-2 systems as quickly as possible

PR Newswire

CARLSBAD, Calif., Dec. 21, 2010

CARLSBAD, Calif., Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) has received delivery orders from PM Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below totaling $13.8 million under its Blue Force Tracking 2 (BFT-2) IDIQ contract. These contracts include the installation and test of production satellite ground station and satellite network control center equipment as well as L-band bandwidth leasing, network ground equipment, and thousands of additional production vehicular transceivers. These next generation BFT-2 systems are designed to enable much faster situational awareness updates and higher transmission speeds.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20091216/VIASATLOGO)

“These follow on task orders demonstrate our customer’s commitment to our new system and the desire to transition to the BFT-2 architecture as quickly as possible,” said Phil Berry, vice president of ViaSat Command and Control Situational Awareness (C2SA). “We’re working closely with the FBCB2 program team to ensure successful fielding of this network upgrade.”

The ViaSat BFT-2 network offers situational awareness updates and increased data throughput. The next generation BFT-2 network is expected to improve situational awareness latency from minutes to just seconds.

The new BFT-2 system is derived from ViaSat mobile satellite communication technology, which enables fast, efficient network access using very small antennas. These systems provide communications-on-the-move (COTM) service to both military and commercial customers.

About ViaSat

ViaSat produces innovative satellite and other digital communication products that enable fast, secure, and efficient communications to virtually any location. The company provides networking products and managed network services for enterprise IP applications; is a key supplier of network-centric military communications and encryption technologies and products to the U.S. government; is the primary technology partner for gateway and customer-premises equipment for consumer and mobile satellite broadband services; and owns WildBlue, the premier Ka-band satellite broadband service provider. ViaSat also offers design capabilities and a number of complementary products including monolithic microwave integrated circuits and modules, DVB-S2 satellite communication components, video data link systems, data acceleration and compression, and mobile satellite antenna systems. Based in Carlsbad, Calif., ViaSat includes a number of worldwide locations for customer service, network operations, and technology development.
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Army Moves Forward with Next Increment of Blue Force Tracking Awarding Contract to Viasat

One of the major issues that was identified in Desert Storm way back in 1991 was a need to minimize Blue-on-Blue engagements. The problem of friendly fire has existed in warfare for generations. The death of Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville in 1863 by North Carolina troops being a good example. The increased lethality of modern tank and air launched weapons only exacerbates the problem. The U.S. military has put a lot of money and time into developing systems to track friendly forces and let others know where they are on the battlefield to protect against them. The generic term for these systems is Blue Force Tracking (BFT).

The U.S. Army awarded a contract to ViaSat last week to develop the next increment of their equipment as part of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Program. The contact is an ID/IQ one worth up to $477 million if all options are exercised. A separate contract for $37 million will be used to buy terminals and other ground equipment supporting BFT. The BFT-2 is part of moving the system to a new network and includes things like terminals to be mounted on aircraft and vehicles, central equipment as well as engineering support services. Northrop Grumman (NOC) remains the lead contractor for BFT and ViaSat and its partners developed this new equipment as part of the overall BFT upgrade program.

As with any contract win there are also losers. Comtech Communications (CMTL) had also bid for this contract but were not selected. The Army told them that the ViaSat bid came in at a much lower price. Comtech had been working on the BFT-1 increment and had successfully received a contract worth $384 million in the past. The loss of this follow on contract significantly affected the company’s share price. Last Wednesday it lost almost twenty-five percent of its share price. Since then it has traded flat. The loss of this contract effort also is affecting a plan by Comtech to acquire CPI International by reducing the value of the stocks being transferred.

Blue Force Tracking is a key combat enabler for the U.S. military. Knowing where you are in relationship to other friendly forces not only prevents blue-on-blue but allows better coordination in combat. The system has been used successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Army continues to move forward in further developing and improving it.

Photo from Nevada Tumbleweed’s flickr phtostream.

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Lockheed Martin Develops Tactical Handheld Device for Dismounted Soldier Situational Awareness

Lockheed Martin Develops Tactical Handheld Device for Dismounted Soldier Situational Awareness
June 8, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla., -Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has developed a ruggedized, tactical handheld device for dismounted Soldiers. The Tactical Digital Assistant (TDA) provides unprecedented situational awareness, command and control, and blue force tracking capabilities to brigade and below forces.

"The Lockheed Martin TDA leverages our systems integration experience to meet tactical-level Warfighters' critical needs in a joint operational environment," said Rich Russell, director of Sensors, Data Links and Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Our solution supports on-the-move communication and information sharing with vehicles and other platforms for improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and enhanced combat readiness."

Lockheed Martin's TDA allows dismounted Soldiers to maintain secure communications and exchange vital position and situational awareness data with mounted forces in an operational environment. Its intuitive user interface supports shared full motion video and sensor command and control. Unlike similar commercial technology, the TDA's ruggedized design can withstand harsh operational environments.

The TDA interfaces with both fielded U.S. Army Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and emerging Joint Battle Command-Platform systems. An open architecture provides flexibility for future growth, including new applications and increased memory requirements. Lockheed Martin is developing numerous applications for the TDA to support battlefield challenges. The TDA is compatible with current FBCB2 software and provides the flexibility to host the Google Android operating system.

The TDA builds on the company's experience with ground Soldier technologies, including the Common Controller Device, TacScene, and industry-leading production programs like the Apache M-TADS/PNVS.

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U.S. Army Completes Field Testing of Northrop Grumman-Developed Next-Generation FBCB2 Software

February 25, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
U.S. Army Completes Field Testing of Northrop Grumman-Developed Next-Generation FBCB2 Software
February 25, 2010

RESTON, Va. –– The U.S. Army has completed formal evaluation of the next-generation software version of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2), developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC). Field testing of the new software, called Joint Capabilities Release (JCR), was conducted at Fort Hood, Texas, from Sept. 28 to Nov. 20, 2009.

FBCB2 is the key situational awareness and command-and-control
system used by U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The
JCR upgrades include a significant increase in the network's bandwidth,
allowing the combat-proven system to get more information to more users
within seconds rather than minutes. It also provides a joint forces
platform solution for both the Army and U.S. Marine Corps.

The Army and Marine Corps continue conducting a series of
planned tests at Fort Hood's Central Technical Support Facility and at
Camp Pendleton, Calif., in the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support
Activity. Testing of the improved data throughput will continue
throughout 2011, after the Army awards a production contract for an
improved Blue Force Tracking 2 (BFT2) transceiver.

The services expect to decide whether to field JCR in late
summer 2010.

"JCR will provide soldiers and Marines with powerfully enhanced
capabilities in command-and-control and situational awareness," said
Joe G. Taylor, Jr., vice president of the Ground Combat Systems
operating unit within Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector.
"We are very optimistic a positive decision will be reached, and JCR
will be fielded to operational units starting as early as October."

During last fall's field testing, evaluators examined the
effectiveness, reliability and performance of the system for both Army
and Marines, in various military vehicles, tactical operations centers,
called TOCs, and combat operations centers. The test was conducted in a
distributed environment and supported by active-duty military and
civilian personnel from several government agencies.

Northrop Grumman completed system segment acceptance testing
and delivered JCR to the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command,
Fort Monmouth, N.J., in September 2009.

Northrop Grumman developed JCR using an approach based on a
common set of core assets, making it more modular, reusable,
interoperable and easier to upgrade. This Battle Command Product Line
architecture is capable of supporting multiple products for a variety
of users, including aviation, dismounted soldiers, logistics and fires.

JCR will be fielded to 96 percent of all Army and Marine Corps
platforms that are scheduled to receive digital battle command systems.
To date, more than 85,000 FBCB2 systems have been deployed worldwide.

FBCB2 links communication devices, sensors, vehicles,
rotary-wing aircraft and weapons platforms in a seamless digital
network to provide a clear, continuous and common picture of the
battlefield. Most FBCB2 systems communicate via a satellite-based
network; about 30 percent use the Enhanced Position Location Reporting
System, or EPLRS, tactical radio network.

The company was awarded the first FBCB2 software development contract in January 1995.


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