APL FSO operators check the monitors on Sea Hunter as a third operator monitors operations.

Optical Communications at Sea

Our Contribution

We successfully demonstrated a high-bandwidth free-space optical (FSO) communications system between two moving ships, proving operational utility of FSO technology in the maritime environment. APL is the first organization to successfully operate such a high-capacity FSO capability—up to 10 gigabits per second—on the move, on ships at sea, and in challenging near-shore environments. Lab engineers demonstrated this APL innovation—which is smaller and lighter and uses far less energy than similar FSO systems—at the 2017 Trident Warrior Exercise.