Military Embedded Systems

UAV proliferation fuels demand for satellite communication, analysts say


February 28, 2017

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

UAV proliferation fuels demand for satellite communication, analysts say

LONDON. The U.S. military's rising use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has given a huge boost to the market for satellite communication (SATCOMM), say analysts at Frost & Sullivan. Since these platforms need non-traditional communication technologies such as SATCOMM to fly, navigate, and engage in combat operations, they are likely to maintain a steady demand military satellite technologies.

“In addition to UAVs, the U.S. is currently modernizing many aspects of its military force, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Zumwalt-class destroyer,” says Peter Finalle, Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation Research Analyst . “These new vessels and aircraft will require more communications in locations outside of the traditional network coverage, making SATCOMM the primary communications technology for many of them.”

Finalle's research is part of Frost & Sullivan's U.S. Government and Military Satellite Market, Forecast to 2022, which finds that the government and military accounted for 87.2 percent of the total U.S. spending on satellite services. SES and Intelsat have the greatest presence in the U.S. military market, accounting for combined 57.7 percent of the total market, Frost & Sullivan analysts say.

As the U.S. government and military number among the oldest clients of satellite services, their ongoing contracts and future prospects mark them as a consistent source of revenue despite this market's maturity, Frost & Sullivan analysts note.

Analysts say that satellite technology's higher costs of hardware and service are hardly proving deterrents to its adoption as it is the only network technology that is accessible in many remote field operations where terrestrial networks are unreliable. Many regions such as the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Latin America, where there is U.S. military intervention or continued surveillance, lack high-bandwidth terrestrial networks with 100 percent network up time. This has opened up business opportunities for satellite service providers that offer efficient performance, reliability, and wide coverage in remote regions to support communication capabilities for U.S. troops and allies, they says.

“Furthermore, new political changes in the U.S. have altered political relationships in 2017,” Finalle says. “This could cause increased reliance on satellite technology in some locations and ensure that the U.S. government and military remains the largest single client for satellite services in the world.”

For more information on this study, visit