Insights from Erwin Mercado, VP Sales, Americas
US DoD – Continuing Military Satcom Missions while Battling COVID-19
Despite the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has not only continued to support US government agencies with critical crisis communication, but also has not missed a beat in supporting vital national security missions. DoD’s projects for commercial satellites have continued throughout the pandemic, making the DoD one of the most resilient verticals in the satellite industry value chain.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ABS has been and continues to be very active in supporting key DoD missions around the world. Accustomed to being able to quickly respond to natural disasters and pandemics such as COVID-19, the US military has demonstrated its ability to rapidly react to national and international emergencies that require satcom services for military or civil applications. Equally, satellite operators like ABS have shown that they can quickly make their satellites available during global emergencies to assist in critical DoD missions or disaster recovery efforts, making commercial satellite communications a critical tool for the US DoD.
US military remains to be an important sector for the satellite industry as it seems to be insulated from the effects brought by COVID-19. According to a recent survey conducted by NSR across a wide variety of the Satellite & Space sector value-chain, “Gov & Mil markets was identified as one end-user vertical that is expected to see some of the lowest levels of significant impact, and some of the few markets with an expected positive impact from COVID-19 to the Satellite & Space value-chain.”
One trend that is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic is that a robust and modern communication network is key to survival, not only for commercial telecommunications, but also for vital military applications that require challenging power levels both in EIRP and G/T to be compliant. As a result of the demanding technical requirements, satellite operators are now struggling to find the right capacity at the right orbital slot for large military projects. In this regard, ABS has been very active supporting the DoD through our US clients that serve the US military. Our ABS-2, ABS-2A, ABS-3A, ABS-7 and ABS-4 satellites have played and continue to play an important role in supporting critical DoD projects in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa. Specifically, the ABS-2 MENA (Fig 1) and ABS-2A MENA (Fig 2) beams have caught the interest of the service providers and the US DoD due to the power levels and coverage of the beams, which work well with aeronautical applications that require 70 cm, 43 cm or even 29 cm antennas.