DoD has to explain to Congress how it will buy low-latency satellite broadband

Lawmakers are involved DoD is just not satisfying the navy’s rising demand for high-speed web aboard Navy ships and different places

WASHINGTON — The 2022 Nationwide Protection Authorization Act handed by the Home Dec. 7 and despatched to the Senate directs the Pentagon to transient lawmakers on navy use of business satellite tv for pc communications companies, particularly these from non-geostationary orbit satellites.

The availability is in response to a rising demand within the U.S. navy for high-speed web aboard Navy ships and different places the place there isn’t a terrestrial telecom and satellite tv for pc alerts are the one choice obtainable. 

Satellites in non-geostationary orbits, similar to medium Earth orbits (MEO) and low Earth orbits (LEO) are at a lot decrease altitudes than conventional GEO satellites stationed 36,000 kilometers above the equator. Satellite tv for pc networks in MEO and LEO present low-latency communications companies, together with high-speed web.

The NDAA requires the secretary of protection to undergo congressional protection committees a “report on present industrial satellite tv for pc communication initiatives, together with with respect to new non-geostationary orbit satellite tv for pc applied sciences that the Division of Protection has employed to extend satellite tv for pc communication throughput to present platforms of the navy departments at the moment constrained by legacy capabilities.”

The availability was initially an modification launched by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), vice rating member of the Home Armed Providers Committee and the rating member on the seapower and projection forces subcommittee.

Wittman turned involved that the U.S. Navy doesn’t present enough connectivity aboard ships, making it tough for sailors and marines to video chat with their households or take on-line programs whereas on deployments. The scenario got here to a head through the covid pandemic when crews couldn’t make port calls and needed to stay aboard ships typically for greater than a 12 months, driving up the demand for web connections. 

Satellite tv for pc communications supplier SES — which operates the O3b MEO satellite tv for pc community — was a serious advocate for this modification, an organization spokesman advised table4. SES executives in an article titled “Billion-dollar ships with no sailors – why the Navy must prioritize connectivity” questioned why Navy ships lack high-speed web at a time when industrial satellite tv for pc corporations are growing capability and companies for cell customers.

The spokesman stated SES labored with Wittman’s seapower subcommittee on the modification, which began out as a Navy-focused provision however was later revised to incorporate satcom for all DoD. 

Over the previous 12 months, the Navy has used two SES O3b terminals to offer MEO wi-fi for service strike group throughout deployments. The Navy historically has relied on Inmarsat GEO satellite tv for pc companies however SES and different non-GEO suppliers similar to OneWeb have made the case that the navy can purchase a mixture of satcom capabilities in a number of orbits and frequencies. The House Pressure group that oversees navy satcom procurement, the Industrial Satellite tv for pc Communications Workplace, is contemplating choices to purchase companies from rising LEO and MEO suppliers however DoD primarily continues to depend on GEO satellites.

In response to the NDAA, DoD in its report back to Congress has to incorporate the next:

  • A possible funding technique on learn how to operationalize industrial satellite tv for pc communication capabilities utilizing non-geostationary orbit satellites throughout every of the navy departments.
  • Requisite funding required to adequately prioritize and speed up the mixing of such capabilities into warfighting methods.
  • Future-year spending projections for such efforts.
  • An built-in satellite tv for pc communications reference structure roadmap for the Division of Protection to attain a resilient, safe community for operationalizing industrial satellite tv for pc communication capabilities, together with via the usage of non-geostationary orbit satellites. The community must be able to leveraging multi-band and multi-orbit architectures, together with necessities that allow most use of commercially obtainable applied sciences.
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