Northrop Grumman’s SUDS system provides locally managed ultra high frequency (UHF) 5k dedicated, 25k dedicated and 25k demand assigned multiple access (DAMA) surrogate satellite communications (SATCOM) services in denied SATCOM environments without driving any equipment changes to end users.

SUDS, a self contained compartmented subsystem, is driven by the combat-proven Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) Airborne Executive Processor, which provides the user interface and data forwarding engine to the surrogate satellite system.

Proof of Concept

The SUDS system has been integrated and demonstrated in a variety of aircraft. Initially developed as a research project to explore the feasibility of the surrogate satellite concept, SUDS has demonstrated significant potential across a wide variety of users.

The SUDS system was utilized as the communications link to establish the Tomahawk Strike Network (TSN), the network used to control the Tomahawk cruise missile while in flight. Demonstrations conducted with SUDS on an airborne platform communicating with a Tomahawk missile in a simulated mission were completely successful. By acting as an element of the TSN, the SUDS system provides the capability to dynamically retarget Tomahawk missiles in-flight at operationally relevant ranges from the intended target.

Extending Communications

As demonstrated, the SUDS payload significantly enhances the Long Range Strike capability of the TSN in a SATCOM denied environment. In other communications centric missions, the SUDS payload will significantly improve connectivity to warfighting platforms and existing users of 5K and 25K DAMA and dedicated channels in SATCOM denied environments.

The SUDS payload also provides an airborne SubNet Relay (SNR) capability in which it participates as a relay node in SNR networks. This enables beyond line of sight data flow across the battle group without SATCOM, eliminating reliance on satellites and decreasing overall network latency.

The SUDS system is a venture into surrogate satellite operations and its proven success represents the potential for continued communications in SATCOM denied environments.

The SUDS payload is controlled using a standardized airborne gateway control suite and hosts the Gateway Manager application to translate tactical SATCOM data to other data links.