News Column

Battlefield Satellite Tracking and Communications

August 1, 2014



A small device using commercial hardware and satellite networking can provide soldiers with real-time position location and communications. The enhanced mobile satellite system (EMSS) beacon and a position location information (PLI)-based tracking device were placed on a maneuver platoon to give near real-time position and location of personnel and assets as part of the U.S. Army's Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) process.

About the size of a hockey puck, the technology can be integrated with the Army's Nett Warrior system. Nett Warrior features chest-mounted communications technology using off-the-shelf Android smartphones that, for now, have had their commercial cellular and Wi-Fi capabilities disabled but come with downloaded, mission-specific apps that operate via military radios. The EMSS beacon can provide troops with a critical communications lifeline via the commercial satellite network that provides global tracking capabilities.

The system was developed by Iridium Communications Incorporated, which participated in the NIE this year for the first time.

In 2013, Iridium received a $400 million multiyear fixed-price contract with the Defense Information Systems Agency to provide satellite airtime services to meet U.S. Defense Department communications needs.

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Source: Signal

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