Thanks to smart phones, it’s easy to take for granted how simple it is to move video and texts. But what if you’re hundreds of miles out at sea, where the swells toss around a 100,000-ton aircraft carrier as if it were a bathtub toy?
Because there are no cell towers in the middle of the ocean, sailors have to rely on satellites to transmit voice, video and email. Out there, Raytheon’s Navy Multiband Terminal and its precisely engineered antennas do the crucial work of talking to satellites.
The Navy recently cleared the terminals for full rate production, meaning the system has met the service’s highest standards and is suitable for day-to-day operations.
“It’s the highest compliment the Navy can make,” said Scott Whatmough, the vice president of Raytheon’s Integrated Communication Systems.
The terminals allow admirals, commanders and sailors to stay in touch with one another no matter what part of the world they’re in. The dish-like antennas are designed to maintain a constant link with the satellite even if the ship they’re on is surging up and down in hurricane-force waves.
The Navy plans to install the terminals on more than 300 U.S. Navy ships, submarines and shore stations. Raytheon worked with the Navy to make the terminals more user-focused, increasing their capabilities while lowering training times. That means sailors can spend more time doing what they do best.
NMT is one of three terminals in Raytheon's product line that support the Army, Navy and Air Force. All three have successfully tested with the U.S. military's newest Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites, which move data more than five times faster than older satellites. And, the three are deployed and ready to operate with the on-obit AEHF satellites as soon as they are operational.
Raytheon has already delivered 75 NMT systems out of an estimated 350 scheduled for installation over the life of the 15-year program.