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Military applications of commercial communications satellites

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2 Author(s)
Hoernig, O. ; Spacelink Int., Washington DC, WA, USA ; Sood, D.

This paper presents a succinct survey of the commercial assets available to fulfil the US military's needs and the benefits of using these assets. The commercial communications assets with global coverage are comprised of constellations of low Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) satellites. These assets are capable of operating with personal communications devices such as pocket-sized phones and low speed data transceivers, suitcase-sized terminals, or readily deployable Earth stations for larger bandwidth applications. The military requirement for security can be easily met through the use of approved encryption equipment. The value and feasibility of commercial assets has been amply demonstrated on several missions such as Desert Storm, Desert Watch, and the Bosnia peacekeeping operation. Commercial telecommunications companies such as Spacelink maintain an inventory of commercial transportable Earth stations that can be deployed in a matter of days to enable the military to set up duplex communications links where terrestrial communications infrastructure is poor or even nonexistent. The commercial transportable Earth stations range in size from 1.8 to 5.6 meters and afford the advantage of readily matching the end user capacity requirements. Use of commercially available communications assets offers many benefits to the government. By leasing these commercial resources, the government does not have to incur capital expenditures, nor maintain an inventory, to meet the deployment and surge requirements

Published in:

Military Communications Conference Proceedings, 1999. MILCOM 1999. IEEE  (Volume:1 )

Date of Conference: