Viasat sells tactical data communications business to L3Harris for $1.96 billion

The sale of Link 16 will allow Viasat to invest in its satellite business and increase its focus on space-based networks

WASHINGTON – L3Harris Technologies has agreed to acquire Viasat’s tactical data link business for $1.96 billion, the companies announced Oct. 1. 3.

Satellite operator Viasat is selling part of its military communications business called Link 16, an encrypted tactical data network used by the U.S. military and NATO allies to exchange data between ships, aircraft and troops on land.

Viasat CEO and Chairman of the Board Mark Dankberg said the sale of Link 16 enables the company to invest in its satellite business And increased focus on space-based networks.The sale proceeds are also expected to reduce the company’s debt after its shutdown Acquisition of Inmarsat.

According to Viasat, the Link 16 business has annual sales of about $400 million, or about 35 percent of Viasat’s government system revenue. More than 20,000 Link 16 terminals are currently installed on U.S. and allied weapons systems and platforms.

Viasat’s Link 16 product line employs 450 people. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to regulatory approvals.

L3Harris, a defense contractor with $17 billion in annual sales, said the acquisition gives the company access to key technology Used by the military to share data. Link 16 is also a key part of the DoD network and is known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

“Viasat’s tactical datalink product line naturally aligns with our proven communications capabilities,” said Christopher Kubasik, CEO and Chairman of L3Harris.

Dankerberg said, posAfter the sale, Viasat Government Systems’ annual revenue will be approximately $700 million. Following the completion of the $5.5 billion Inmarsat merger, the company expects the government business to generate annual sales of about $1 billion.

Market research firm William Blair said in a note to investors. 3 said Viasat “spun off assets to raise capital necessary to fund its capital-intensive satellite business and fend off stiff competition from SpaceX’s Starlink.”

L3Harris has been a subcontractor to Viasat for many years as an integrator for the Link 16 network. The acquisition coincides with the Pentagon’s plans to expand the Link 16 network into space.

Viasat since 2019 The experimental Link 16 satellite has been under development under a contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.This satellite is a few years behind schedule to launch maybe this year Or test the use of Link 16 terminals from low Earth orbit as network relays next year.

Today, Link 16 is available as a line-of-sight network, and extending it into space will provide beyond-line-of-sight connectivity.

The military low-Earth orbit communications network, expected to be deployed by the Space Development Agency, will feature Link 16 radios on each satellite. Redwire is currently under contract Production of 42 Link 16 antennas for the first transmission layers of the Space Development Agency.

SDA’s transport layer is a low-Earth orbit mesh network of optically interconnected satellites that will send and receive broadband data to ground stations and mobile users.

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