Future of SATCOM Success Driven By Better Modems, Antennas and Power

While our nation’s military is facing unique budgetary challenges, the pace of SATCOM innovation continues to move rapidly.  With an enhanced need to provide the warfighter with ubiquitous SATCOM data in a mobile and central environment, developers are enhancing throughput and reliability – while the size and cost of equipment is being reduced.

These were the core takeaways of a recent Defense Systems article that highlighted how engineers and designers are creating next-generation modems that are sent into orbit and upgrading the antennas carried by troops and vehicles.  

“We need modems with higher-order coding and modulation,” Mark Daniels, vice president of engineering and operations at Intelsat General, was quoted in the article.  “Another critical technology is anti-jamming. More modem manufacturers are designing anti-access area-denial technology.”

These new modems are offering adaptive in-bound channels to boost data rates and improve the ability to communicate under any type of weather condition.

The article also highlighted how these technological advances are occurring in a rapidly changing market.  Although the troops are being drawn down in the Middle East, bandwidth demand by the military continues to rise, and a number of new military satellites are coming on line to accommodate this.  

“Military bandwidth usage continues to go up, driven by data like UAV imagery, especially high-definition video,” added Daniels in the article. “Even as WGS comes on line, we’re still expecting to see growth.”

In addition, even as the Department of Defense (DoD) is using more of its own satellites, government agencies are becoming more open to tapping into industry for hosted payloads.  “We see more hosted payloads coming,” Daniels said. “We think AEHF-type payloads are a good candidate for hosted payloads.”

While today’s tighter budget environment is causing the DoD and other government agencies to use fewer resources to focus on unchanged national security missions, it is clear that new innovations will continue to drive SATCOM successes. 

From enhanced bandwidth needs to new modem and antennae developments, industry and government will continue to find ways to develop the right solutions for empowering the warfighter with the most actionable SATCOM data in a mobile environment.

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