The military satellite communications landscape has undergone some fundamental changes throughout the last 12 months. As an economic recession took hold around the world, governments had to examine where they were spending their money and whether space programs, particularly in the military area, could be justified. The United States signalled its intentions last year by cancelling the TSAT (The Transformational Satellite Communications) program.
Yet, while we may be in an economically more prudent era, the demands for bandwidth, particularly in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, continue to rise. These demands are fuelling more creative solutions and programs to meet bandwidth needs. It is no exaggeration to say that getting information to the warfighter in a timely manner can mean the difference between life and death, and we are seeing militaries look to increase partnerships with commercial satellite operators to fill the bridge the bandwidth gap.
In this supplement, we bring you a wide range of interviews and features about the direction of the military satellite communications market, including a discussion with U.S. Air Force Col. William Harding, vice commander, Military Satellite Communications System Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center. We also examine the role of satellite technologies alongside other communication technologies on the battlefield as well as the issues surrounding satellite communications on the move and providing the warfighter better capabilities.