The United States Air Force Research Laboratory has contracted ThinKom Solutions for the provision of its gateway array services, to aid in the monitoring of fast-moving low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and ground segment activities. 

The complexity of modern battlefield operations requires manufacturers to develop integrated tactical communication systems to facilitate instantaneous communication between disparate platforms, sensors, and systems in order to facilitate real-time tactical and strategic decision making. 

Increasing demand for satellite broadband and Earth observation through LEO and medium Earth orbit (MEO) constellations necessitates additional beams to follow the vast number of satellites in orbit.

The modular design of ThinKom makes it possible to make use of several, independent beams, that each establish a connection with a separate satellite. The ‘array of arrays’ can repoint from a setting to a rising satellite near instantaneously and provides make-before-break handovers, ensuring that communications are not disrupted. 

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By GlobalData

The low profile enables for “hide-in-plain-sight” deployments, where a parabolic dish would be easily detected. 

According to the company, improvements to the ground segment have trailed satellites and launch technology in recent years. “The next generation of satellite networks requires a new paradigm in the ground segment,” said Bill Milroy, chairman and chief technology officer for ThinKom. 

According to ‘The Global Tactical Communications Market 2021-2031’ report from GlobalData, the global tactical communication market is valued at $13.bn in 2021 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.68% to reach a value of $18.bn by 2031. The cumulative market for global tactical communication is anticipated to value $161.1bn over the forecast period.

The Global Military Satellite Market Forecast 2021-2031’ from GlobalData forecasts the global communication satellite market size to rise from $2.5bn in 2023 to $4.1bn in 2031, with a CAGR of 4.97%, with the industry being largest military satellite sub-sector in Australia and India.