Satellite communications (satcom) networks offer communications services that are potentially global in nature, among users on land, at sea, and in the air. And now, with the joint efforts of satcom providers COMSAT and Iridium and its Iridium Certus system (based on the second-generation Iridium NEXT satellite constellation), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) users can benefit with global communications that are secure and reliable. A long-term agreement between COMSAT and Iridium will result in the availability of secure satcom connectivity for mobile voice and data users to the U.S. DoD by the middle of 2018.
COMSAT has long provided secure satellite solutions to government, military, and maritime users, and this agreement will allow the company to bring its full suite of value-added services to the Iridium Certus program (see figure). The teaming will enable COMSAT to leverage the benefits of the Iridium network, including global, on-the-move L-band wireless connectivity, to provide services that meet the Communications Security (ComSec) requirements for the DoD, such as real-time statistics on use, telematics data, voice calling, personnel tracking, and real-time environmental assessments.
The launch of the satellites for the next-generation Iridium system, Iridium NEXT, and its broadband L-band capabilities, has made it possible for partners such as COMSAT to provide high-speed, global, and secure communications services. (Courtesy of The Maritime Executive)
The Iridium Certus terminals are smaller than traditional satcom terminals, and the multiple-function satellite system will enable users to debut at transfer speeds of 352 kb/s, with upgrades available to 704 kb/s. “This is a new generation of technology that will keep users connected on-the-move, combining the robustness and reliability of the Iridium network with the value-added services and years of experience provided by COMSAT,” says David Greenhill, president of COMSAT. “U.S. government users will experience a new level of mission-critical mobile capabilities thanks to this partnership. We’re excited to bring this new service to them.”
The Iridium network is designed to provide high-performance, secure communications no matter the operating conditions. It will allow government and military users to establish reliable communications anywhere on the globe in a cost-effective and secure manner, with connections to command and control centers in the U.S., even in Arctic and Antarctic regions.
“Iridium and the DoD have maintained a longstanding and collaborative partnership through our Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) contract, and we believe Iridium Certus complements this perfectly by bringing never-before-possible, mission-critical broadband capabilities to the warfighter,” says Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. “We’re excited to partner with COMSAT, who brings innovation and a broad portfolio of capabilities to the table, and we look forward to working together for many years to come.”