Prototype Airborne Contested Environment Communication Relay (PACECR)
Currently, the U.S. Navy relies on satellites to provide long-range communications to their vessels around the world. In the event that the military's satellites ever lost function, the U.S. Navy would need a backup communications option. Lincoln Laboratory is developing the Prototype Airborne Contested Environment Communication Relay (PACECR) to enable aircraft to replace or augment a satellite communications network.
In our PACECR system, two Gulfstream III aircraft are each outfitted with a specially designed communications pod. Each aircraft flies above its respective Navy carrier battle group. Within each pod are two primary communication systems. One system forms a local-area network, enabling ships within a carrier group to communicate with each other. The second system provides a high-capacity backbone link between the two pods, relaying communications over long distances between each carrier group, and a ground station. Effectively mimicking a satellite network, PACECR would give the Navy a long-range communication capability.