Airborne Laser Communication System (ALCOS) (Developmental)

ALCOS will provide the high-speed, secure communications links required by the warfighter. GA-ASI is currently developing an ALCOS that will fly on a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) system and connect to a Geosynchronous Orbit Communication Satellite (GEOCOM-SAT).

ALCOS is designed to transfer over 2.8 Giga-bits per second (Gbps) with a usable bandwidth of 1.8 Gbps. Due to the point-to-point nature of a laser beam, the link will be very Low Probability of Intercept and Detect (LPI/LPD). For example, the laser beam from the satellite to the earth will have a footprint of approximately 0.01 mi2 in area, versus a 125,000 mi2 footprint produced with today's Satcom terminals. Additionally, the extremely small footprint will make ALCOS virtually jam-proof from the ground and air. Finally, there are no frequency spectrum restrictions as the laser is far removed from the congested Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum. Laser communication between airborne platforms has been demonstrated at speeds of 10 Gbps.

With these characteristics, laser communication is suited ideally for high-speed, secure links between space and the Joint Aerial Layer Network. For example, ALCOS can reside on a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) that is collecting Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) data from manned or RPA nodes and can transmit this data to a GEOCOM-SAT using laser communication. This high-speed secure link will provide the reachback required for effective and coordinated operations.

Features/Benefits:

Technical Features

  • High data rates
  • LPI/LPD
  • Jam-resistant
  • No spectrum limitations

System Features

  • Matched to German Tesat space laser communication terminals
  • Acts as airborne node in Airbus SpaceDataHighway
  • Can be configured to NASA/U.S. Government laser communication system

Photo Gallery

ALCOS Will Transmit High-Speed, Secure Data From Predator B to GEO Satellites

ALCOS Will Transmit High-Speed, Secure Data From Predator B to GEO Satellites