Satellite Communications: Phoenix


Phoenix ground satellite terminals enable Expeditionary Signal Battalions (ESBs) to provide large division and corps headquarters with agile high-bandwidth network communications. Phoenix terminals provide with high capacity, inter- and intra-theater range extension for networked battle command and control information, including logistical, operational, intelligence, and administrative data. They are used for high-throughput missions, which include Unmanned Ariel System feeds, video teleconferencing, and large numbers of subscribers and computers on the network.

The versatile Phoenix terminal is a transportable, quad-band, tactical satellite terminal that is mounted on an expanded capacity vehicle (legacy version). It provides assured access to satellite communications and enables operational flexibility and multipath diversity, by providing a rapidly deployable capability that can operate over military X/Ka and commercial C/Ku satellite bands. It also supports point-to-point, mesh, and hub-spoke networks.

Phoenix E-Model Prototype

In 2019, PM Tactical Network fielded the 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced (ESB-E) pilot unit with the first transit case-based Phoenix E-Model ground satellite terminal prototypes to inform design and fielding decisions to modernize the Army’s legacy ESBs. The results of this ongoing assessment were used to modify Phoenix E-Model Prototypes Three and Four, which are going through developmental testing. In additional to the ESB-E’s previously fielded small and medium ground satellite terminals, the Phoenix E-Model prototype serves as the unit’s largest satellite capability.

Like the legacy version, the flexible Phoenix E-Model prototype operates on four different satellite bands (military X/Ka and commercial C/Ku-bands), however, its dual-head capability enables the use of two antennas on two different frequency bands, or two different satellites, simultaneously. This reduces manning requirements for equivalent capability, doubles bandwidth throughput, and enhances multipath diversity and resiliency within the tactical network. In addition to operating on traditional Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, the systems also have the potential for growth to operate on existing Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) constellations.

The legacy Phoenix is completely vehicle based, with a permanent vehicle-mounted antenna. Contrarily, if needed, the new E-Model enables Soldiers to remove the equipment from the vehicle in transit cases so they can easily deploy and operate the system without the vehicle, increasing the unit’s expeditionary nature, mobility and operational flexibility in support of a variety of missions around the world.

The Phoenix E-Model prototype efforts directly support and are aligned with the Army Network Modernization Strategy Line Of Effort (LOE) #1 Unified Network; they are fully interoperable with the Army’s Tactical Network and architecture, and provide expeditionary network transport.


  • Operates in military X and Ka band and commercial C and Ku bands
  • Qualified for the military environment: temperature, shock, vibration
  • Can interface with other strategic networks via standardized tactical entry points, Regional Hub Nodes or strategic assets
  • Transmits one Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) link and receives up to four FDMA links simultaneously
  • Multi-carrier capable (transmit two FDMA carriers) in C, Ku and Ka band
  • Supports point to point, mesh and hub-spoke networks