The Pentagon is looking for a solution when it comes to their communication equipment and connections. They require security, reliability, and versatility around the world and under all manner of circumstances.
This is what makes the problem of satcom incompatibility especially pressing for U.S. defense. After an 18-month study, the Pentagon found that while there are opportunities for expanding into commercial communications satellites, many of its outdated terminals are unable to connect.
Modern satellites have a lot of offer the military in terms of capacity, ease of connectivity, and considerable cost savings. As the commercial satellite market grows, prices decrease and capacity and choice increase. Consistent satcom innovation makes the prospect of utilizing private satellites an attractive one for the Pentagon, but it’s not as simple as plugging in and connecting.
The study found current military terminals are the primary hurdle to commercial satellite integration. Highly customized and outdated compared to today’s technology, these terminals would require a major upgrade that could take decades and would require a huge investment. This would include requirements to update all manner of military communication equipment, which is no small feat considering how complex tactical radios and military headset specs can be in and of themselves.
Though it would be a massive undertaking, the Pentagon has many good reasons for pursuing such a course of action. If successful, the upgrade would allow for seamless connectivity and more nimble responsiveness in specific situations. There are still many concerns with how advanced commercial technology can be modified to meet with military requirements. Then there is the challenge of upgrading individual radios and other communication equipment.
There’s also the need for utmost security, stealth, and flexibility, which modern satcom technology can improve upon. This has become a primary concern as enemies are constantly seeking ways to obstruct or jam military satellite networks. As many service members can attest, this is a major venerability with outdated terminals.
For all the advantages presented in switching over to modern satcom technology, it’s not going to be a quick or easy change for the Pentagon. Preparation, testing, implementation, and full adaptation is going to take a lot of time, energy, and investment, but the need to upgrade and keep military technology current is imperative for national defense on an increasingly tenuous global stage.