Syracuse 4A and 4B have spot beams that concentrate satellite signals over a limited geographic area. While that’s typically fine for relatively slow-moving ground forces that don’t need satellite communications until they reach the war zone, spot beams can be a problem for fast-moving military aircraft that can traverse hundreds or thousands of kilometers in the course of a mission.
During Air Force Space Command’s recently concluded Schriever Wargame 2018 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, the U.K. was put in charge of the so-called Special Capabilities Integration Cell. This cell is where commanders simulated how the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada would combine their space capabilities to fend off attacks in a potential conflict.
“In this game, we had the first ever high-level coalition cell,” Air Force Brig. Gen. DeAnna Burt, director of operations and communications at U.S. Air Force Space Command, said last week in Washington. “Partners brought future capabilities they’d like to build at the SAP [special access program] level,” she said. “Britain ran the cell.”