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USAF's WGS Satellite Supports Relief Efforts in Japan

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- An artist's rendering of a Wideband Global Satcom satellite. The 3rd Space Operations Squadron has been testing a satellite situational awareness tool known as Blue Force Status for the past two years using data collected from WGS satellites. (courtesy graphic)

Wideband Global SATCOM

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Wideband Global SATCOM system's unique dual-band and crossbanding capabilities are proving to be critical in the ongoing earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan. Intended for use with military operations, WGS is now using its one-of-a-kind capability to communicate across the frequency spectrum to assist emergency aid efforts in Japan.

WGS program officials explained that Japanese emergency services operate in the Ka-band and to avoid interfering with those emergency communications; Ka-band satellite communications in Japan are not allowed.

"The ability of WGS to provide X-band communications support within Japan, crossbanded to Ka-band communications support outside of the region, is playing a significant role in coordinating and executing relief efforts, " said Col. Donald Robbins, chief, Wideband Global SATCOM.

The WGS system is a constellation of military communications satellites providing high-capacity communications to U.S. warfighters since January 2009. WGS is the only system that supports simultaneous X- and Ka-band communications, with crossbanding that makes it transparent for users to communicate across terminal types.

In U.S. Pacific Command's area of responsibility, WGS is directly supporting the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group's humanitarian aid mission and covering communications links lost while fiber optic restorations are ongoing.

WGS provides anytime, anywhere communication for the warfighter through broadcast, multicast, and point-to-point connections. WGS is developed by the Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., which plans for, acquires and sustains space-based global communications. The MILSATCOM enterprise consists of satellites, terminals and control stations and provides communications for more than 16,000 air, land and sea platforms.