Communications on the move (COTM) technologies allow mobile units, military vehicles and dismounted personnel to maintain an unbroken communications capability while moving. It allows rapid response to changing situations on the battlefield and in challenging environments without needing to stop.
Standard tactical radio communications are limited to line-of-sight (LOS) operations, and while repeater stations and radio relays can be deployed to solve this issue and provide BLOS (beyond line of sight) communications, these may also need to be defended and introduce an extra liability. Satellite communications (SATCOM) are thus the most common solutions for COTM.
In addition to standalone COTM terminals, conversion kits are available that allow standard UHF and VHF tactical radios to transmit and receive over SATCOM networks. This means that BLOS communications on the move capabilities can be acquired without the need to purchase completely new equipment or to retrain personnel.
Satellite COTM services may use the Ku-, Ka- or X-bands and allow real-time transmission and reception of voice, video and data between units in the field and command centers. SATCOM on the move solutions are available in a variety of form factors, including portable low-SWAP (size, weight and power) solutions for dismounted soldiers, and larger units for manned aircraft, UAVs, ground vehicles, and naval vessels.
COTM antennas come in a variety of forms with different technologies, including flat-panel, phased-array and electronic beamforming, allowing them to maintain a constant connection while mobile. Terminals may provide a number of secure networking capabilities including VPN (virtual private networking) and encryption. They may also include integrated GNSS receivers for enhanced tracking and positioning.
Ruggedized COTM Solutions
COTM solutions may need to be ruggedized to withstand challenging conditions including rain, dust and sand, shock and vibration, and electromagnetic interference (EMI). Maritime COTM systems may also need to be protected against salt spray and corrosion.