The last branch of the U.S. military, the Space Force, has unveiled the first tool in its Arsenal: satellite signal jammers.
The Block 10.2 Counter-Communications System (CCS) is a transportable ground technology - a large radar antenna that can be dropped into a conflict zone by military transport and mounted on the back of a trailer. The system temporarily interferes with signals from hostile satellites - cutting off links between hostile forces and their bases or countries, or even preventing them from videoconferencing. It could also prevent hostile units from receiving warnings of imminent U.S. military action and interfere with enemy propaganda transmissions.
"Think of it as a platform to run a variety of custom missions," said Praveen Kurian, general manager of L3Harris' space control division, which led the development of Block 10.2. "You talk about reversibly denying communication, and then when you shut down your system, you can run it again."
Although the military has not released details about the system, analysts predict that CCS will likely be able to interfere with most major commercial frequencies, such as C and Ku, as well as commonly used military frequencies, such as the X-band. It may also be able to disrupt Ka-band transmissions. CCS is likely to target geostationary communications satellites, which are the backbone of satellite communications.
CCS will be deployed to the 4th Space Control Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, as well as Air National Guard units in California, Hawaii, Florida and Colorado.
While the technology is not entirely new, earlier versions used by the Air Force date back to 2004, and the Block 10.2 version has been updated to include more frequency bands and includes other measures to improve its jamming capabilities. He will use agile software development and deployment to keep up with rapidly evolving threats.
The launch of the Space Force's first weapon comes as the United States tries to keep pace with countries such as Russia, which has deployed satellite jammers since 2019, and other countries that are already using similar technology. In fact, militaries around the world are increasingly relying on satellite communications. If it is not possible to simply shoot down an enemy satellite in high orbit, the best approach is to temporarily knock it out, removing an important asset from the battlefield.
CCS could be used against potentially hostile satellites, such as new Iranian military satellites.
While we may still have to wait for space weapons, the Space Force's first deployable technology will play a key role on today's and tomorrow's battlefields - marking a major step forward for the fledgling military organization.