Government and Military Update

by Chris Spore, SVP Global Accounts

As we gear up for an exciting defense conference season in February, featuring prominent events like the World Defence Show, GovtSatCom 2024 and WEST 2024, we anticipate truly fruitful gatherings with both familiar faces and new prospects. Building on the tremendous success of the DoD Commercial Satcom Conference, where three days of dynamic presentations and meetings unfolded, we are eager to once again connect with military users, service providers, hardware manufacturers and commercial satellite operators. These upcoming conferences promise an invaluable platform to share insights, discuss evolving industry trends plus review current and future Government & Defence requirements.

There were a few key takeaways from our recent participation in the DoD Commercial Satcom Conference, where we gained valuable insights thanks to the informative speakers/presentations and the many networking opportunities. It is clear that users are increasingly seeking hybrid architectures that include multi-orbit and multi-frequency solutions via one terminal. Both LEO and GEO have a strong role to play now and in the future. Customers are also looking for service based solutions on Mbit and offered on an as-needed basis. This poses a challenge for service integrators who will need to package up multi-orbit, multi-frequency services from different operators in a cost-effective manner to fulfill these demands.

Whilst the vast majority of UAV/AISR platforms are currently Ku band, there is a clear path to transition to Ka band in the next 5 years. AISR customers demand flexibility – to move beams as needed, to adjust bandwidth in the beam, to adjust power in the beam, to change from in beam teleport to reach back. Satellites must have the latest command encryption and ways to mitigate jamming. This vital information helps inform the ABS team as we plan the next satellites in the ABS constellation specifically designed to support DoD future needs.

ABS has a strong history of providing commercial capacity for US DoD needs with services continuing to this day. It was clear from the conference that commercial GEO still plays a vital part in supporting the DoD with many large requirements mainly in Ku-band, but with C-band still in demand. It is also clear that ABS will be able to continue to support these and future requirements. There is an expected refocus for commercial satcom in the Asia-Pacific theatre with demand expected to increase substantially over the next years starting in 2024 as the US moves to open new bases in the region to counter regional threats. ABS remains very well positioned to serve these needs with ABS-2 and ABS-6 both providing excellent coverage of the Asia-Pacific region in C and Ku-band. In addition, ABS-2, ABS-3A, ABS-4 and ABS-2A also remain well positioned to provide Ku and C-band capacity for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

With this coverage, ABS will continue to ensure that through its Service Providers and Partners the US DoD have access to C, Ku and Ka band capacity now and in the future where and when needed.