It’s a kind of magic

This week I tackled the minefield that is military satellite communication; I’m not implying that you need to be a rocket scientist to understand it all but I’m sure that helps.

To say I learned a lot at the annual Global MilSatCom conference in London is somewhat of understatement. The wealth of knowledge that all of the speakers as well as attendees bring to the table is something to be admired.

The conference launched with the UK MoD giving us an insight into what will happen after Skynet 5 reaches its end of service date in 2022, future beyond line of sight (FBLOS). Air Cmdre John Philliban gave a great rundown of the future possibilities and a rough time frame for each one to be implemented if selected.

Partnership was a key theme of this conference and one chairman suggested that perhaps we should take a drink every time that word is used. Unfortunately/fortunately there was only water at the table.

Many of the commercial satellite companies were present at the event and showcased how they work with governments to provide satellite communications at an affordable cost and low risk solution. Inmarsat highlighted its work in utilising the Global Xpress satellite constellation which saw its second satellite go live this week.

One of the most interesting speeches came from the Canadian Department of National Defence who outlined their Canada Tactical Narrowband SATCOM (TNS) requirement which will cover Arctic regions.

Then there was New Zealand’s Wing Commander Rhys Taylor with an attention grabbing presentation for that pre-lunch lull in proceedings. First thing was to mention the Rugby World Cup, they won or something?

For a small country New Zealand has a large SATCOM requirement and the defence force is looking to upgrade existing equipment as well as obtain new kit over the next few decades in line with its future 2035 concept.

Few details were given about exact requirements although the speaker pointed out that there are business opportunities in New Zealand for companies attending the conference.

Most importantly he added a detailed explanation on SATCOM theory. Thanks Wing Commander Taylor.

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