Insight | Award-winning streak distinguishes Inmarsat’s excellence in mobility


Award-winning streak distinguishes Inmarsat’s excellence in mobility


At Inmarsat Government we are firmly committed to developing and delivering the very latest and best in mobile satellite communication (SATCOM) solutions and services. Inmarsat builds its commercial satellite systems from the ground up with U.S. government mobile users in mind, thereby augmenting military satellite resources cost-effectively, wherever and whenever needed. We understand that U.S. government and military users stand ready to deploy – sometimes at literally a moment’s notice – to anywhere in the world. Therefore, resilient, robust and secure SATCOM must “follow” them wherever they go.

We continue to invest extensively into the R&D required to even further expand the trusted mobile capabilities of our technologies. As a result, we recently won no less than our third major government mobility award in three years from the Mobile Satellite Users Association (MSUA). MSUA is a non-profit association dedicated to promoting satellite mobility innovations and developing the satellite mobility market worldwide. Its annual Mobility Satellite Innovation Awards celebrate the top, market-proven mobility advancements.

Most recently, in 2018, Inmarsat’s L-band Tactical Satellite (L-TAC) service was selected as the government mobility award winner.

Why? As with our other investments, L-TAC has been built to satisfy specific requirements of communications on the move (COTM) tactical radio users who strive for reliable, anywhere, anytime service. L-TAC provides global, satellite-based, beyond line of sight (BLOS) communications for Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) radio users. Using their own standard tactical radios with field-proven kits from Spectra Group (UK) Limited (SlingShot®), L-TAC enables users to operate secure voice and data circuits between their existing radios across any operating area without requiring additional user-provided terrestrial infrastructure. The service is implemented via a single hop through the Inmarsat-4 satellite system and directly connected L-band uplinks and downlinks, providing users with the same experience as operating with UHF satellite communications, but through a cost-effective L-band satellite channel.

The L-TAC service is currently in active operations for several nations’ armed forces throughout the world. In support of a specific critical mission, when it became necessary to move a satellite with active L-TAC users over 28,000 km from its original location over Africa to the Indian Ocean region, Inmarsat created 120 customized beams and switched their positions on a daily basis to maintain coverage over critical areas for troops. On the ground, the user experience was “service as usual” with no interruptions or degradation of service.

In 2017, Inmarsat’s Wideband Streaming L-Band was the winner.

Why? In response to critical government requirements for ultra-small terminals and high-speed connectivity, Inmarsat has adapted its trusted, highly reliable L-band service into a new capability designed to support airborne, expeditionary and maritime missions. In use today on multiple platforms and missions, government operations are using Inmarsat’s worldwide L-band space and ground network through micro antennas, as small as five inches, providing unprecedent data rates as high as 10Mbps x 10Mbps. Inmarsat’s dedication to government requirements was demonstrated in this award, as we “repurposed” our trusted, reliable L-band service into a capability enabler designed to support high-throughput services for mobile terminals moving from beam to beam.

In 2016 the winner was Inmarsat’s Global Xpress.

Why? We sincerely believe that government users should enjoy the same instant always-on functionality from commercial satellite systems as they do from their smartphones, with a full range of high-throughput tools and capabilities that work all the time. To respond to these mobility-driven mandates, we have invested $1.7 billion in Global Xpress, a next-generation end-to-end system which brings seamless, affordable Ka-band for users anywhere around the globe. We designed the system after careful assessment and our deep understanding of government mobile users’ requirements.  Global Xpress now brings the benefits of highly reliable, high-throughput satellite capability to government users worldwide, including seamless wideband connectivity and dual Ka/L-band resilience. The service complements the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) network, allowing the U.S. government to cost-effectively augment its system without any up-front commitment or additional infrastructure investment. Provided as a SATCOM as a Service “always-on” capability, global customers reap tremendous savings from an existing and evolving infrastructure architecture optimized for mobility.

At Inmarsat Government, we are proud of these award wins. However, the greatest validation of our determined efforts to support the most innovative and outstanding mobility initiatives comes from our customers, when they enthusiastically continue to seek our products and support for their critical missions, year after year. If this matches the level of trusted SATCOM services you seek, then please contact us.

About the author

Steve Gizinski is Chief Technology Officer of Inmarsat Government Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Inmarsat plc, and the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications to the United States government.