Space Force Developing Counter-Communications Satellite Jammers

Satellite antennas used for CCS Block 10.2 jamming systems. Image provided by L3Harris Technologies.

The Space Force is set to begin building an offensive counter-communications electronic jammer system, developed by L3Harris technologies. The jammer, called the Counter-Communication Systems (CCS) Block 10.2, was declared to be operational in March of 2020. L3Harris was awarded a contract last month to produce 16 of these CCS Block 10.2 units by 2025, with the Space Force heeding warnings that Russia and China are developing their own interference weapons to use against our space assets. The CCS Block 10.2 effects are also designed to be reversible, allowing only for temporary disruptions, and L3Harris is also working to develop the CCS Block 10.3 upgrade, known currently as “Meadowlands.” The progress being made is a positive sign that the United States will be able to keep up with other nations’ developments in the space sector, particularly by engaging in offensive/defensive missions to better protect our own interests in the final frontier.

Jamming technologies show vast amounts of promise as they relate to ensuring that the United States’ space interests are protected. However, failure to secure the ground stations that these jammers will operate from could just as easily disrupt these interests. With cybersecurity standards and regulations constantly evolving, the need to stay on top of things and exceed prescribed standards is paramount, as adversaries are evolving far more quickly than our documentation. A compromised jamming system could end up jamming our own space systems and preventing them from carrying out their functions, though, luckily, the jamming effects were designed to be temporary. Additionally, depending on how the jammers work, they could be used to target other, non-space systems in the event that they end up compromised. Finally, the critical data, in this case, would be the intellectual property of the jammers themselves. Russia and China are advanced adversaries, but not our only adversaries, and if other entities were to find out information about these jammers and construct them themselves, we could see a noted increase in disruptions up in space or down on the ground.