Military Turns to Commercial SATCOM for Cost Savings

Although the U.S. is winding down its military presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the need for satellite bandwidth has not diminished by any stretch.  The U.S. military is actually seeing a rise in demand for bandwidth, which is changing the communications landscape and creating more opportunities for commercial providers that offer hosted payloads.

Defense Systems ran a story last week about how the U.S. military is augmenting its more conventional Satcom efforts with systems that protect against nuclear attacks and jamming activities.   These new systems include the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite that is currently being tested with terrestrial equipment, as well as four new satellites being developed by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Richard DalBello, Vice President, Legal and Government Affairs, Intelsat General, was quoted throughout the piece and discussed how the military can save millions dollars by using commercial satellites.  He also discussed how hosted payloads, military equipment that is carried aloft on commercial satellites, provide a low-cost alternative for the military.

“Many of the military satellites cost a billion or two per copy. Commercial satellites often cost closer to $150 million to $250 million,” said Richard DalBello, vice president of government affairs at Intelsat General.

The article also highlighted how Intelsat General and Boeing collaborated to provide the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) continuity of service and augmentation of their UHF capacity – providing an estimated $150 million savings by using a hosted payload.  Check out a case study discussing the ADF hosted payload here.

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