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Letter From The Editor

By | September 1, 2011

      There are a number of factors that have placed the military satellite communications landscape in a state of evolution. With most countries in the western world coming to grips with major debt issues, expensive technology projects and new acquisition strategies can often get shelved as governments simply won’t allocate the funds or deviate from the comfortable status quo. It is interesting, however, to look at military strategies in theaters like Afghanistan and Iraq, where the demands for bandwidth have escalated and will continue to do so while there is still a significant military presence. While there is talk of pulling out troops, the reality is that allied forces are likely to be in these hot spots for some time, and it is an imperative task to provide the troops on the ground with the tools they need to effectively do their job.

      Satellite technology has always played a very important role in these conflicts and that is unlikely to change. What is changing is that militaries from around the world just simply can’t write blank checks to fund expensive systems, even if they know their capacity will run dry. This is leading to unprecedented creativity from military organizations as governments look for cost-effective solutions that still meet armed forces’ capacity and capability needs. It is a tricky equation for all those involved.

      In our first article in this series, we look at growing opportunities for the commercial satellite sector to play more of a role in bridging the military bandwidth gap. While dedicated military satellite systems are undoubtedly better solutions, they are costly and expensive. Commercial operators that continue to put up satellites at healthy rates can step into the breach. We look at the shifts in the relationship between the two parties.

      Our second feature looks at the technology now needed to protect the warfighter on the ground. Effective communications and the technology that powers these capabilities can mean the difference between life and death in high-risk situations. We look at the latest developments here and the latest capabilities.