Viasat recently inked a deal with the Air Force to provide Link 16-capable handheld radios to warfighters.
The five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract was awarded to the California-based communications company to supply the service with handheld battlefield awareness and targeting system-dismounted, or BATS-D, radios. Link-16 is a network used by U.S. and coalition forces to pass information and provide situational awareness.
The devices were designed to improve communication between air and ground forces by giving warfighters real-time, secure access to information.
The radios were created before the Defense Department called for the capability, said Andy Kessler, vice president and business area director for Viasat.
There was "a demand signal from operational warfighters that said they needed a way to effectively do digitally aided close-air support more efficiently [and] more quickly," he said.
The company created a radio to meet the mission requirements, Kessler said.
"Essentially we took the initiative to develop it based upon our understanding of what the market would need, and then we went ahead and brought that to a variety of different...