Disclaimer: This RFI is for informational purposes only. This RFI does not constitute a solicitation (Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotations (RFQ)) or a promise to issue a solicitation in the future. This RFI does not commit the Government to contract for any supply or service whatsoever. Potential respondents are advised the U.S. Government will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this RFI. All costs associated with responding to this RFI will be solely at the responding party’s expense. Proprietary information will be safeguarded in accordance with the applicable Government regulations. Proprietary information or trade secrets should be clearly identified. The use of “you”, “your”, or “your company” all reflect questions directly toward industry members and not individual responders.


The Army currently procures and utilizes satellite modems from multiple vendors each having a proprietary waveform and hardware platform utilized in a point-to-point, full mesh or hybrid (hub assist) manner while at-the-halt, at- the-quick-halt or on-the move.  These satellite modems are capable of Multi-Frequency Time-Division Multiple Access (MF-TDMA), Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) with a variety of Phase Shift Key (PSK) modulation.  All modems use a form of error correction code from legacy block and convolution codes to highly efficient linear error correct code like Low Density Parity-Check (LDPC) codes or concatenated codes such as Turbo Product Code (TPC).  All modems must meet bulk encryption satisfying the requirements of the Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2.  The Project Management Office is interested in a way to streamline the tactical Army’s satellite modem product line into a smaller logistical footprint in ways to streamline satellite modem operations with less hardware, use of virtualization, or a combination of both while still preserving the ability to operate in a dynamic tactical battlefield environment while using its current and future compliment of satellite antennae that range from sub one meter to greater than 9 meter. 

Information Requested

The Project Management Office requests interested parties address the following questions:

The government desires to minimize the amount of modems in the tactical architecture. 

• What benefits or drawbacks would there be to consolidating to a singular modem/waveform including impacts to at-the-halt, at-the-quick-halt and on-the-move scenarios?

• What level of security utilizing the standards of FIPS 140-2 could be achieved?

• How would threat interference and jamming could be mitigated?

• Would virtualization of the waveforms lead to the reduction of modems in the architecture?

The government wants to investigate the possibility of modem virtualization.  This could involve the virtualization of one or more modem waveforms that currently reside in the architecture. 

• Are there ways to virtualize the modem platforms in a cost effective manner?

• What logistical challenges might the government run into with the virtualization of modem platforms?

• Could the Government host virtual waveforms in their current datacenters using common industry-proven hypervisors like VMware and Hyper-V?

• Could IP interfaces connect virtual waveforms with VLAN separation to digital IF platforms?

• Would industry innovate to the hardware and software design of the virtualized platform for future modems and upgrades even if there current offerings are strictly a singular hardware/waveform design?

• How might the government and industry partner to ensure technological relevance in the future?

The government wants to investigate the possibility of a hardware package that would serve as the front end of the virtualized modem activity.

• Is it possible for industry to manufacture a common and generic hardware front end for virtualized modem waveforms?

• If yes to the previous question, is it cost effective assuming that the hardware platform is SMDC/ARSTRAT certified, and accommodates all modes of PSK operations?

• Could the hardware platform accommodate the requirements of FIPS 140-2?

• While considering FIPS 140-2 requirements, is it possible to employ robust, but flexible TRANSEC to the capability set of the modems?

• Is it possible to provide a Network Monitoring system to provide critical network information metrics to be exported to third party software or a proprietary Network Performance Monitoring tool?

• Is it possible for the system have metric data available in a raw format to archive onto servers for current and future reporting?

  • How would open standards and vendor agnostic hosting hardware impact the ability to achieve waveform and modem virtualization and diversity?

Submission Details

Responses should include:

1) Business name and address.

2) Name and business title of company representative.

3) Respondent’s perspective, structured according to the questions given in the previous section.

Responses shall be limited to a single document containing 15 pages or less.

The document should be single-spaced, have one-inch margins, assume US letter-size (8 1/2 by 11 inches) page, use 12-point font, and be formatted for compatibility with Microsoft Word 2003 (or later) or Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 (or later).

Submissions should be named according to the following convention: <Respondent company name; maximum of 12 characters> Virtualization of Satellite Modems and Waveforms RFI_<date in YYYYMMDD format>.<filename extension of 3 or 4 characters>.

Submissions should not exceed a 5 MB e-mail limit for all items associated with the response

All submissions should be sent to the following individuals:

John Anglin – john.h.anglin6.civ@mail.mil

Joe Van – Joseph.a.vano2.civ@mail.mil

Rich Hoffmann – Paul.r.hoffmann4.civ@mail.mil

Samantha Wallace – samantha.k.wallace2.civ@mail.mil

Christine Dittmeier – christine.m.dittmeier.civ@mail.mil