Space Force’s First Weapon Jams Enemy Satellites
Matthew Greenwood posted on June 29, 2020 |
Updated technology will be used to temporarily disrupt hostile communications.

Space Force, the newest arm of the U.S. military, has unveiled the first tool in its arsenal: a satellite jammer.

The Counter Communications System (CCS) Block 10.2 is a transportable ground-based technology—a large radar dish that can be flown into an area of conflict on a military transport and mounted on the back of a trailer. The system temporarily scrambles the signals of hostile satellites—severing the connection between hostile forces and their home bases or home countries, leaving them unable to even conduct videoconferencing sessions. It would also prevent hostile units from receiving warnings about imminent U.S. military actions and disrupt enemy propaganda transmissions.

“Think of it as a platform that various custom missions run on,” said Praveen Kurian, general manager of L3Harris’ space control division, which is responsible for developing Block 10.2. “You’re talking about reversibly denying communications, and then when you shut down your system, you’re back to being able to operate.”

While the military hasn’t released details about the system, analysts anticipate that the CCS will likely be able to jam most major commercial frequencies such as C and Ku, as well as commonly used military frequencies such as X-band. It may also be able to disrupt Ka band transmissions. The CCS will probably target geostationary communications satellites, which are the workhorses of satellite communications.

The CCS will be deployed to the 4th Space Control Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, as well as Air National Guard forces in California, Hawaii, Florida and Colorado.

While the technology isn’t entirely new, with the Air Force using an earlier version as far back as 2004, the Block 10.2 version has been updated to include more frequency bands and contains other measures to enhance its jamming capabilities. It will use agile software development and deployment to keep current on rapidly evolving threats.

Space Force introduced its first weapon at a time when the U.S. is trying to keep pace with countries such as Russia, which has deployed satellite jammers since 2019, and other nations already using similar technologies. In fact, military forces around the world have become increasingly reliant on satellite communications. And while it’s not feasible to just shoot down an enemy satellite in high orbit, the next best thing is to temporarily knock it out, removing an important asset from the battlefield.

The CCS could be used to counter potential hostile satellites such as Iran’s new military satellite.

So while we may still have to wait for space-based weapons, Space Force’s first deployable technology will have a key role in the battlefields of today and tomorrow—and marks an important step forward for the fledgling military organization.

Read more about potential future Space Force technologies at The Pentagon Wants a Particle Beam Weapon.

Recommended For You