Time and communications are critical in a down range environment where the difference of minutes can save soldiers’ lives. GATR Technologies recently developed and deployed an ultra portable communication system that is completely inflatable. According to Paul Gierow, President GATR, “It provides high bandwidth for secure and non-secure data, voice and video, and can be ready to transport in as little as 15 minutes.
Roy Priest, Program Manager, GATR, said “the system officially called the Deployable Satellite Communication Terminal but generally referred to as GATR, replaces much heavier antennas that currently require as many as 10 cases weighing 100 pounds each.” He explained that both the housing and the collapsible antenna dish inside are made of a flexible fabric that deflates and rolls up into a backpack. The RF feed mechanism, inflation unit, and other accessories to the antenna are easily assembled, disassembled, and stored for transport. The system can be packed into two carrying cases that weigh less than 70 pounds each, so the solider can travel with the system as checked baggage on the airplane.
Gierow said, “The GATR is in limited production but the system is being used in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. The system first deployed after Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, has been used in Afghanistan for eight months and has been successfully used in both cold and hot climates.”
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Technical Center have the contract management responsibilities for this system.