The U.S. Navy is planning to deploy “ruggedized” 4G LTE networks on three of its vessels this year. This marks the first time that the Navy has offered cellular service on any of its ships. According to Wired, the ships will be using a microwave-based wireless wide area network (WWAN) that can extend out to up to 20 nautical miles with speeds up to 300 megabits per second. The Navy is hoping that the LTE networks will pave the way for better mission planning. The Navy is planning to use the wireless network to transmit data like real-time video feeds when Marines are on land or on board other ships.
The said three ships are the amphibious assault ship U.S.S. Kearsarge, the amphibious transport dock U.S.S. San Antonio and the dock landing ship U.S.S. Whidbey Island. The Navy is also reportedly planning to purchase tablets and smartphones (off the shelf) with the help of the National Security Agency to ensure that the devices are certified to transfer classified information. Wired explained that the communication systems on the ships will not operate on the network, and that its connectivity will continue to run via satellite.