Free Space Optics

The Next Frontier for Net-Centric Connectivity

As peer and near-peer adversaries have developed Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities that can detect, disrupt, and degrade traditional communications networks, technologies like Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) are rapidly emerging as reliable and resilient alternatives for connectivity in contested environments. By leveraging Viasat’s commercial innovation in ASIC modem design and development and security experience in network encryption, our FSOC system delivers a significantly higher range and throughput than existing solutions in the tactical environment – making it a coveted and covert communications component for any operational scenario.

Mercury Free Space Optics Benefits

Greater Regulatory Flexibility Does not rely on the use of heavily regulated radio frequency spectrum
High Capacity Provides a robust, persistent link of up to 20 Gbps, at a range of up to 70 km in multi-channel approach
LPI/LPD Highly resistant to jamming, spoofing and electro-magnetic interference (EMI) compared to RF systems
Simple to Setup Separate acquisition beacon and SWIR camera, allowing autonomous acquisition, pointing and tracking for Comms-on-the-pause (COT P) and Comms-on-the-move (COTM)

High-capacity communications for the electronic warfare environment

FSOC Terminal for the Tactical Edge

Viasat’s Mercury FSOC Terminal enhances warfighter communications in a spectrum-congested/contested environment

Enabled for multiple expeditionary communications environments including Ground-to-Ground, Ground-to-Air, Ship to-Ship, and Ship-to-Shore, FSOC evolves line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight communications with distributed cloud access across jam resistant, high-capacity network links. Viasat’s Mercury FSOC solution is designed to be highly mobile and simple to use, making it easier for service members to deploy and for the system to stay aligned and linked to the distant end terminal.


  • Size 23.2″ x 24.8″ x 24.3″ 
  • Weight <100 lbs
  • Power 48 VDC, 200W peak


  • Data Rates of up to 20 Gbps bidirectional
  • Up to 50 km for terrestrial point-to-point links


  • Operating Temperature -30°C to 55°C
  • Enclosure Outdoor/Marine MIL-STD-810 compliant