“Anytime, anyplace, anywhere” – for those that remember it sounds like the old 1970’s Martini advert. In times of uncertainty, this has become the de-facto mantra of governments worldwide; demanding from its military and security forces the ability to respond “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere” to meet its future defence needs.
Beginning with the early satellites launched by NATO and the U.S., sovereign nations have long relied on a cooperative relationship and interoperability to provide essential satellite communications (SATCOM) for joint military missions and exercises. In the last two decades, particularly during and since the Persian Gulf War, the “cooperative relationship” has extended to commercial satellites in commercial frequencies. To maintain sovereignty and control, a new era of national military satellites (MILSATCOM) was launched to deliver critical beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) communications: Sicral, Syracuse, Hisdesat, Skynet, and WGS, to name just a few.
These new-era MILSATCOM systems provide essential core capability, but are not the complete solution to the “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere” conundrum. Users have found there are times when MILSATCOM is not available to them due to competing demand (from other, higher priority military users), the possibility of being “bumped off” (mission risk) or simply cost. This is when having a cost effective, interoperable, reliable alternative is vital.
What is often misunderstood is that users have ready-available options for X-band on the commercial market in addition to the more traditional C, Ku- and Ka-bands. The MILSATCOM X-band technical advantages of resistance to rain fade, a dedicated military/government frequency band, maximised throughput and excellent communications for mobility applications –especially to small terminals– are a powerful argument for users that demand secure, reliable communications across all locations. Commercially available X-band is technically identical to X-band on MILSATCOM while offering the user immediate and assured access to non-preemptible space segment that they can manage, a factor critical in maintaining OPSEC.
Combining the use of MILSATCOM and COMSATCOM provides an extremely capable, flexible and robust communication solution for the military and government user. With intelligent use of COMSATCOM to complement MILSATCOM, the communicator can truly meet those challenging demands of “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere”.
See more from Paul Bosher