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BlueHalo wins $11M US AFRL contract for laser communications technologies

15 Jun 2022

For a pair of flight terminals and ground station to demonstrate in-orbit processing of satellite operations for AFRL

Military and space technologies developer BlueHalo – whose mission statement is “leading the transformation of modern warfare” – has won an $11 million contract to deliver photonics technologies to the U.S. Air Force Research Lab.

The contract is for a pair of optical laser communications proto-flight terminals and a ground station to demonstrate on-orbit processing of satellite positioning and timing for the USAFRL’s Kirtland Air Force Base.

Work will be performed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is expected to be completed by February 2025. The contract will support the development and demonstration of key technologies: GEO-to-LEO optical uplinks and downlinks, space-to-ground links, positioning and timing accuracies over optical links, and interoperability with multiple optical communications standards.

‘Rapidly expanding’

“As a core area of technological focus at BlueHalo, our Laser Communications Systems Division is rapidly expanding capabilities based on robust internal research and development programs,” said Vikram Manikonda, BlueHalo’s Chief Technology Officer. “This contract will allow us to apply the company’s extensive experience developing and fielding optical communications systems to continue advancing innovations in laser communications.”

Manikonda added, “BlueHalo’s Laser Communications Systems Division is dedicated to developing next-generation optical terminals and key enabling solutions. We specialize in high data rate communications, ranging, and timing services with low probability of intercept or detection (LPI/LPD) due to extremely narrow beam widths.”

Dan Gillings, BlueHalo Sector President, commented, “BlueHalo is excited for this opportunity to partner with the Air Force Research Laboratory to continue pushing optical communications technology forward. A demonstration like this leverages our previous successes in the field and builds on our expertise in optical jitter control and precision pointing to achieve technological breakthroughs.”

About BlueHalo

BlueHalo is purpose-built to provide industry-leading capabilities in the domains of Space Superiority, Space Technology, Directed Energy/Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (c-UAS), Autonomy, Advanced Radio Frequency (RF), Cyber, and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). BlueHalo focuses on inspired engineering to develop, transition, and field next-generation capabilities to solve the most complex challenges of our customers’ critical missions and reestablish our national security posture in the near-peer contested arena.

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