We’ve yet to hear a satellite company boast about having the largest mobile terminals around. Mobile terminals are best in small, portable sizes that can easily move as the mission does. So what importance should be placed on the size of a satellite communications provider? Is bigger better here as well? [Read more…]
You may have never noticed, but X-band is all around you. Many police speed-trap radars used to enforce safe speeds, and even air traffic control radars used for aircraft collision avoidance, all operate in X-band. [Read more…]
Background. On December 7, 2016, the US Air Force launched the 8th of 10 planned Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellites into orbit, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. This latest WGS satellite marks a technological leap forward for the WGS constellation, bringing more X- (and Ka-band) capacity to the Department of Defense. X-band is also an important part of NATO’s own CP130 capabilities package for satellite communications. There is a reason that the Department of Defense and NATO have invested so heavily in X-band: X-band provides high-throughput, virtually weatherproof satellite communications that excels with high-mobility, lightweight applications ranging from forward tactical and SOF units, to maritime communications, to airborne ISR and UAV assets. For these types of applications, X-band in fact provides substantially better service than Ka-band. No wonder X-band is a key component of the Department of Defense’s and NATO’s SATCOM architectures.
Over the last few weeks, XTAR eagerly anticipated the results of Army’s tests of its new inflatable satellite terminal for robust communications on the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), using X-band. These satellite systems can deliver advanced, high-bandwidth communications to the tactical edge, and they continue to prove the critical role of X-band satellites for the Army. [Read more…]
On November 8, coincident with the Global MilSatCom Conference in London, Philip Harlow, President and COO of XTAR, was interviewed by Peter Warren on the radio show PassW0rd where they discussed contested space, militarization of satellites and orbital debris.
You can listen to the interview here where Philip Harlow discusses the many types of risks to satellites in orbit along with examples of recent events. Typically, the “militarization of space” brings to mind complex weapons taking aim to destroy a satellite. But the actions that could cripple, disable, or worse still hack or spoof a satellite, are far more nuanced, as explained in this piece.
The entire broadcast can be found here.
© Cyber Security Research Institute
Part II: Is there a disconnect between words and deeds in DoD Innovation and Procurement Practices?
The pitfalls seem to lie in the environment and the execution.
The DoD has sought the engagement of the commercial space industry to develop innovative solutions that will allow COMSATCOM and MILSATCOM architectures to be interoperable, particularly as it looks to the next gen MILSATCOM. There have been incremental successes with Space & Missile Command and JFCC. Maybe the way the DoD does things in this arena will work out well, although past and present experience casts doubt on this. [Read more…]
Part I: DoD looks to Industry for options; How is that working out so far?
When it comes to commercial space use by DoD, their leadership often talks about the need to innovate, and the need to collaborate with their industry partners. With over $1BN being spent annually at the height of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, commercial satellite operators were a de facto part of the military SATCOM architecture. Roll on the establishment and now we have 10 WGS satellites that are going to serve the vast majority of DoD needs – no more need to spend so much money on commercial! [Read more…]
In the course of satellite communications architecture planning, like all military operations planning, it is always wise to have a main Course of Action (COA) and a fallback COA.
As a main COA, all DoD program offices, acquisition activities, and J6 SATCOM planners should be purchasing equipment that is 100% compatible with the DoD’s own Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) constellation known as Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS). Why? Because when the DoD purchases WGS-compatible equipment (i.e. X-band SATCOM terminals for aircraft and UAVs, as examples), it saves the DoD millions of O&M dollars annually because it operates using free bandwidth, using satellites it already owns. Not only is this common sense, it is in compliance with OSD-AT&L’s Better Buying Power 3.0 initiatives. Even better: to get on WGS, all DoD units need to do is schedule it. [Read more…]
X-Band outperforms newcomers, including HTS Ku on SWaP-limited antennas
Yesterday’s announcement by Gilat and Intelsat General of tests on Gilat’s BR 71 antenna is great news! Really. Why would an X-band satellite operator say this? Because every technical advancement forces all players to aim at a higher performance threshold, so with this small terminal, one more barrier is being removed. [Read more…]