Discover how Inmarsat redundant systems can boost government SATCOM effectiveness, flexibility and resilience

14 December 2017

Kai Tang, VP, Commercial Strategy & Operations, Inmarsat U.S. Government Business Unit

  • us-government

  • global-xpress
  • broadband

These are times when the only thing we can predict is unpredictability. From geopolitical threats to natural disasters – events emerge swiftly and unexpectedly, anywhere around the globe. This event-driven reality provides an even more insistent imperative that U.S. government and military users must stand ready to deploy “anytime, anywhere”. They must have access to resilient, robust and secure satellite communications (SATCOM) wherever they are, at a moment’s notice, across the full spectrum of engagement. And, of course, this must be tempered with real expectations of cost-effectiveness and enhanced combat readiness delivered with agility.

For Inmarsat, resilience, redundancy and reliability are paramount. While other companies have yet to reach outside of single-region consumer Ka-band and L-band services, we provide guaranteed global connectivity to industries and governments worldwide. This is supported by on-orbit and ground stations redundancy and our Ka/L-band hybrid solution for even greater resilience and frequency diversity.

Resilience and redundancy aspects are embedded within the hardware design of every Inmarsat satellite. Furthermore, we have full flexibility to manage and reallocate beams for optimization of global and mobile network coverage. A holistic global ground network design with a robust Satellite Access Station (SAS) segment meets safety-of-life and mission assurance needs, as well as delivers high network availability demanded by government users. By locating hot-standby SASs in the feeder link footprint, user links can be automatically and transparently handed over in seconds, ensuring resilience against unpredictable hot-spot events.

Enhanced flexibility

The unique combination of the diverse bands and offset coverage of the Inmarsat-4 and Inmarsat-5 systems, as well as planned and future constellations, means that the network is far more resilient at the user end with total weather resilience; reduced sensitivity to look-angle blockage; network continuity during satellite-to-satellite handovers; and terminal equipment redundancy.

As the government seeks to adopt an enterprise-level, integrated SATCOM architecture to fulfill its requirements and enhance flexibility of operations cost effectively, land, aero and maritime users can access our Global Xpress, Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN), SwiftBroadband and FleetBroadband services for dynamic and global missions for optimal redundancy, diversity, protection, scalability and global portability– the ultimate resilience, force-multiplying approach.

In addition, our commercially available, end-to-end capabilities include ground, terminal and space segments, at a much more affordable cost and much faster rate than the current government acquisition model allows. This frees up military members from administering disparate networks, allowing them to focus on critical operations.

Built to government requirements

Inmarsat commits to its government customers, understands their requirements and invests ahead of time to deliver needed capabilities. Our funded and approved investment strategy for the future ensures continued backward compatible operations and assured mobile, global, modernized, innovative SATCOM networks, well into the next generation:

  • Global Xpress-4 – launched in May 2017, our fourth Inmarsat-5 satellite (I-5 F4) has successfully completed in-orbit testing and adds further capacity to the Global Xpress network, as well as in-orbit redundancy that further upgrades the reliability and resilience of Inmarsat’s service offerings.
  • European Aviation Network (EAN) – the first of its kind worldwide, the EAN will combine high capacity satellite coverage with a complementary 4G LTE ground network, to provide high-speed passenger Wi-Fi on flights across all European Union states when it goes live in 2018.
  • Global Xpress-5 – an additional satellite is targeted for launch in 2019 as a Very High Throughput Satellite (V-HTS), providing capacity across the Middle East, Europe and the Indian subcontinent. The payload will seamlessly become part of the Global Xpress network.
  • Inmarsat-6 – our first satellite to host a unique dual band payload that supports L-band and Global Xpress services. With the first satellite scheduled for launch in 2020, it is designed with technological advances that enable additional capacity and coverage.

Based upon extensive market research and a long-term relationship with the end-user community and government leadership, Inmarsat makes organic, ongoing investments in networks that are fully interoperable with military satellite systems. This includes technology advancements, enhanced capabilities and improved encryption, enabling the augmentation of MILSATCOM anywhere, anytime – the ultimate resilience approach.


About the author

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Kai Tang is Vice President for Commercial Strategy & Operations for the U.S. Government Business Unit at Inmarsat.  In this role, he is the Inmarsat wholesale representative to U.S. government users and channel distribution partners and is responsible for Inmarsat’s U.S. government market and pricing strategy, product marketing and management, as well as channel and sales strategy and operations. Prior to joining Inmarsat, Mr Tang was the GS-15 Division Director for Navy Satellite Communications (SATCOM) within the Navy’s Communications Program Office for the Program Executive Officer Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) in San Diego, California. There, he was responsible for a $1.6B FYDP (Future Years Defense Program) portfolio overseeing the overall acquisition efforts including development, testing, fielding, and life cycle support of all Navy Military and Commercial SATCOM systems. This included the Navy EHF SATCOM Program (NESP), Super High Frequency (SHF) terminal programs, Broadcast Service (GBS) and Commercial SATCOM programs such as the Commercial Broadband SATCOM Program (CBSP), Commercial Wideband SATCOM Program (CWSP), Television-Direct to Sailors program (TV-DTS), and the Navy’s Iridium project. Mr Tang was also responsible for airborne and expeditionary programs such as Navy VIP Aircraft Communications and the Joint VSAT project for JIEDDO. As the Navy’s senior SATCOM acquisition expert, Mr Tang was a frequent public speaker on topics of commercial satellite operations and acquisition strategy.