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Making the case for commercial X-band satellite service

It’s amazing how many people still look at me sideways when I tell them they can buy X-band or military Ka-band satellite service on the commercial market in exactly the same way they can buy Ku-band or C-band.

Fully coordinated X-band has been available on commercial terms since 2005, and with more becoming available each year. What was once the sole domain of governments and the military is now an accessible resource to fulfill the most demanding of missions.

The military machine once viewed this commercially available X-band with distrust and comments like: Surely it is an inferior product, less capable and less secure? Can we trust the commercial satellite operator to be there when we need them? Surely it is the most expensive alternative to using military satellites?

Roll forward almost 15 years and we are into our second generation of commercially available military frequencies; expanded, more capable than ever, and with a track record of always being there to support every military operation from Desert Storm to Gothic Serpent to Enduring Freedom to Inherent Resolve. Commercial satellites can and will be there for every future military operation.

Capabilities dramatically improve with each iteration of commercial satellites, with satellite providers continually adding more throughput, more spectrum, and more power. This means the user on the ground gets more options, more competition – which means lower prices – and the ability to pick the right solution to fit the mission, without compromising on mission TTPs to fit the SATCOM solution. Commercially available military frequencies are just one more option on the smorgasbord of commercial solutions.

These military frequencies provide practical cost-effective solutions to mission parameters that demand high throughput, resilience, reliability, and small mobile terminals. With the addition of military frequencies to commercial satellites, the cost-value tradeoff is no longer a major factor.

X-band is a particularly effective satellite frequency band in regions with drastic climates. X-band mitigates the effects of rain and sandstorm activity that degrade satellite link performance. Military satellites and frequency bands are used for high-priority missions where active operations are happening. It is no coincidence that the commercially available military frequencies are available in the same high-activity regions. This additional layer of redundancy in commercial bandwidth is intended to provide an overlay and augmentation of existing military satellites to support the same missions in the same high-activity regions. Commercial providers are here to serve – now, and tomorrow.

For additional information on the role that commercial satellite services can play in providing necessary X-band and Ka-band capacity to the military, click HERE.

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