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Update: AN/TSC-156, SHF Tri-Band SATCOM Terminal "Phoenix".

The Summer 2003 issue of the Army Communicator first introduced the Phoenix, an SHF Tri-Band SATCOM terminal to the Signal community. With the termination of the SHF Tri-Band Range Extension Terminal in 2002, the Phoenix was intended to be an interim solution for SHF Tri-Band requirements until the Multiband Integrated Satellite Terminal is fielded in the 2012 timeframe. Since the last Phoenix report, much has happened with the program and it's time for an update.

Quick review: The Phoenix mission

The Phoenix, AN/TSC-156 terminal, is a transportable multichannel-tactical-satellite-communications terminal operating in the SHF band. Its mission is to provide flexible, mobile, high capacity, extended-range communications connectivity using military and commercial satellite space segments. The Phoenix may interface with other strategic networks via standardized tactical entry points or strategic assets.

A two-block acquisition strategy

To reduce program risk, the Phoenix terminal is being developed and procured in two blocks. The Block 1 Phoenix is a tri-band capable terminal consisting of an integrated pallet-mounted assemblage of non-developmental items, commercial off-the-shelf, government-furnished equipment and those items adapted for Army use which are needed to meet the requirements.

The Block 1 Phoenix consists of one wired enclosure with redundant radio frequency, baseband and antenna equipment and a second pallet with power generation and ancillary equipment. It is capable of C-5/17/130/141 roll-on/off without special preparation, and it is transportable by land, sea and rail. The terminal/vehicle combination is single-point sling-loaded by CH-47 rotary-wing aircraft.

The Block 1 Phoenix is transported by two M-1113 Enhanced-Capacity Vehicles. The first vehicle carries the integrated terminal enclosure and two operators with their personal and mission gear (to include A&B bags, rucks, spares, water cans, etc.). The second support vehicle [Mobile Power Unit] carries a pallet-mounted, 10 kW Tactical Quiet Generator. The support vehicle also carries two operators with their personal and mission gear. Additionally, the MPU carries Basic-Issue-Item Diagnostic Spares, feed assemblies, and other terminal equipment. Both vehicles have 400 amp kits to provide short-term (24 hours) backup power. External commercial Alternating Current power can also be used.

The Phoenix is capable of multi-node operations with up to four full duplex links in hub-spoke, hybrid mesh, or point-to-point modes. It can transmit/receive up to four commercial T1/E1 transmission groups at 1.544/2.048 Mbps per group for a total aggregate data rate of over 8 Mbps, plus data and voice orderwire(s). It can interface with 6 Digital Transmission Groups at data rates up to 1152 Kbps per DTG or Conditioned Di-Phase rates up to 2048 Kbps. It will also interface with up to 8 balanced Non-Return-to-Zero groups at rates up to 2048 Kbps. Two of these ports can bypass the Enhanced Tactical Satellite Signal Processor to provide a point-to-point link at rates up to 10 Mbps. An L-band IF port is also provided for access to the modern in a point-to-point mode. Patching will allow the various types and combinations of military and commercial data rates, formats, and transmission groups/DTGs, to be combined to the maximum extent possible to use the total aggregate throughput of 10 Mbps.

Phoenix terminals are backward compatible with legacy AN/ TSC-93B/C/D and AN/TSC-85B/ C/D and AN/TSC-143 terminals to the second level multiplexer (TD-1337 and ETSSP) and STEP/Teleport terminals. Set-up and tear down time for the Phoenix is 30 minutes with a three-person (MOS 31S) operator/maintainer crew. Normal crew size is four operators/ maintainers. The Phoenix is capable of using the LHGXA AS-4429/TSC as an external antenna to provide additional transmit and receive gain, as mission needs dictate.

A computer-based control, monitor and alarm system provides operator interface for ease of setup, operation, and maintenance via laptop computer. The laptop can be remoted up to 50 meters and a spare laptop is provided for each terminal. KIV-19 Trunk-Encryption Devices provides TRANSEC for up to four commercial circuits that require them. A KY-99 is used to secure the ETSSP orderwire between terminals. The GFE Integrated Monitoring Power and Control-Subsystem Transportable-Network Terminal is used as the control orderwire.

Successful limited user tests

The Block I Phoenix terminal operational Limited User Test was completed on June 26, 2004, at Fort Bragg, N.C. The test unit was the 112th Signal Battalion. Five terminals were used in the LUT operating in hub-spoke and mesh modes of operation. Also included in the network was an AN/TSC-93C terminal, an LHGXA on the Phoenix hub terminal and a STEP site. Various switches and data packages were used; voice and data traffic was passed during the test. The test also included terminal displacements to simulate typical tactical movements. The test was successful with only minor changes to the terminals being recommended. These minor modifications will be incorporated prior to the final material release to the 112th Signal Battalion. The 112th Signal Battalion will retain the five terminals used in the Block I LUT and will receive three more terminals in second quarter, fiscal year 2005 to complete their fielding.

Note: On July 27, 2004, the Milestone Decision Authority authorized the continued procurement of the Block I Phoenix terminal. This will allow the Program Manager to procure additional terminals.

Block 2 Phoenix--upgrade to Quad-Band Growth to military Ka-band is a pre-planned product improvement for the Phoenix. The Block 2 Phoenix will see the integration of a Kaband capability with an associated increased throughput. (All Block 1 terminals will be retrofitted with Kaband equipment and brought up to Block 2 standards.) The Block 2 Phoenix terminal effort is currently underway. The first two Block 2 Phoenix terminals will go through an operational Limited User test in the 2nd/3rd quarter, FY 05.

Block 1 training will consist of a two-week New Equipment Training class at the fielded unit and a three-day Tactics Techniques & Procedures planners and managers training. The MOS 31S course will receive two terminals as well as a training simulator for sustainment training.

The Phoenix terminal contractor is L3 Communications Systems (West). For more information on the Phoenix SATCOM terminal, contact Bill Campbell, TSM-SATCOM, (706) 791-7886, DSN 780-7886, email:


AC--Alternating Current

BIIDS-Basic Issue Item Diagnostic Spares

COTS--Commercial Off-the-Shelf

CDI--Conditioned Di-Phase

DTG--Digital Transmission Groups

ECV- Enhanced Capacity Vehicles

ETSSP--Enhanced Tactical Satellite Signal Processor

FY--fiscal year

GFE--Government Furnished Equipment

IMPCS--Integrated Monitoring Power and Control Subsystem

LUT--Limited User test

MDA- Milestone Decision Authority

MIST- Multi-band Integrated Satellite Terminal

MPU--Mobile Power Unit

MOS--Military Occupational Specialty

NET--New Equipment Training

NDI--Non-Developmental Items


PM--Program Manager


RF--Radio Frequency

STAR-T-SHF Tri-Band Range Extension Terminal

STEP--standardized tactical entry points

TED--Trunk Encryption Devices

TNT--Transportable Network Terminal

TQG--Tactical Quiet Generator

TTP--Tactics Techniques & Procedures
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Title Annotation:TSM-SATCOM
Author:Campbell, Bill
Publication:Army Communicator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2004
Previous Article:Global broadcast service.
Next Article:Connects with signal transformation.

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