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Marines First To Try Out High-Tech Antenna

The new Large Aperture Multi-band Deployable Antenna (LAMDA).
by Lance Cpl. Richard Blumenstein, MCB Camp Butler
Camp Hansen, Japan (AFNS) Mar 05, 2007
More than 30 Marines with 7th Communications Battalion, 3rd Marine Division and Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, trained with the new Large Aperture Multi-band Deployable Antenna Feb. 5-16 at Camp Hansen. The purpose of the two-week course was to teach the Marines how to operate the LAMDA in deployed environments around the world, according to Dennis Evanchik, the project leader from Warfighter Information Network-Tactical out of Fort Monmouth, N.J.

"The Marines are the first people to get this new state-of-the-art equipment," Evanchik said. "They're getting serial number one, right out of the factory."

The LAMDA is the enhanced version of the Lightweight High Gain X-band Antenna the Marine Corps is currently using, Evanchik said. It has the ability to pick up fainter signals than any other tactical antenna used to date.

Also, its new tri-band feature gives Marines the ability to send data over a number of different commercial and military frequencies making it superior to the previous antenna, according to William E. Campbell, a systems analyst with Training and Doctrine Command in Fort Gordon, Ga.

"With this antenna, you can provide telephone and Internet services around the world for anyone who has a need for it," Campbell said.

This added feature gives Marines greater communications capabilities in international areas that restrict frequencies to ensure airways are clear for emergency services transmissions, said Staff Sgt. Shaun L. Sloan, a satellite communications technician with 7th Communications Bn.

"The tri-band gives us a wide range of frequencies in those areas," Sloan said. "The more bands we can operate in, the more flexible our capabilities are in areas with international restrictions."

The antenna will also decrease communication costs as it requires a fraction of the power used by other antennae. The LAMDA's 4.9 meter dish requires only two watts of electricity to produce the same capabilities as the Light Weight Multi-band Satellite Terminal's 2.5 meter dish, another antenna the Marine Corps uses, according to Campbell.

"In the satellite world, it's 'the bigger the better,'" Campbell said. "With a larger dish you can save costs because you don't have to use the same amount of power as a smaller dish. The LAMDA requires one fourth the amount of power as the LMST to perform the same capabilities."

Even though it is being much bigger than the LMTSs, the LAMDA is still a highly mobile communications system able to be deployed wherever the Marines need it to go, Sloan said.

"Even though the dish is larger, it's tactical," Sloan said. "You can take it anywhere in the world."

The antenna was designed specifically to withstand harsh weather in field environments. It can operate in up to 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts.

According to Sloan, this ability can be crucial in harsh areas.

"It allows us to continue operations without having to jeopardize the equipment," Sloan said. "It all boils down to the greater capabilities it gives us to accomplish the mission."

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