Have you wondered what trends in business ultimately will be successful, and which are just flashes in the pan? Look no further than everyday cell phones, the success of which is largely due to countless improvements overcoming Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) limitations of previous generations of cell phones and computing devices. Not surprisingly, the UAV market faces the same challenges, with UAVs becoming smaller, lighter, and more powerful with every iteration.
Small UAV manufacturers, take note: your efforts to build smaller, lighter UAVs with longer range and higher endurance are not going unnoticed. Time for a quick primer on what the established competition already knows: UAVs are Size, Weight and Power-limited (SWaP-limited) applications, and thus operate better in X-band – and the reason is simple physics involving (a) X-band’s high-capacity, weather-resistant wavelengths, and (b) the smaller, lighter equipment that can be used in X-band applications due to satellite spacing.
The Senate Armed Services Committee recently requested five-, 10-, and 25-year strategic plans from DoD for the appropriate blend of military and commercial satellite bandwidth. Presumably, the committee is seeking cost-avoidance in the present and cost-savings in the long run. I have not actually seen any attempt at this type of comparison for several years. Industry is eager to prove its value and capabilities, but DoD has not been forthcoming in releasing all its raw costs for accurate comparison. [Read more…]