XTAR LLC, a US-based commercial provider of satellite services in the X-band frequency, has announced that it has gained a significant segment of the growing airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (AISR) market over the last 12 months. These contracts represent more than 100 MHz of bandwidth and are valued at more than USD 8 million.
Under these various contracts, XTAR will reportedly provide X-band capacity on its XTAR-LANT and XTAR-EUR payloads to support services on manned aircraft using antennas designed specifically for airborne applications. These terminals range in size from 0.8 metres down to very small 0.4 metres. This capacity will provide service over a coverage area extending from North and South America to Africa and the Middle East. Contract terms vary from six months to as long as 72 months.
“XTAR and X-band are supporting increasingly significant warfighter requirements, especially for vital intelligence gathering missions within the AISR market,” said Philip Harlow, XTAR president and COO. “The value-added integrators working with XTAR to support these missions continue to focus on X-band because they understand commercial X-band’s strength, especially for government users requiring satellite solutions that are not supported by government satellite resources. As a former soldier, I know the value of accessing technically advanced satellite services such as XTAR’s to fulfill mission requirements when and where they occur.”
Given the four-degree spacing between X-band satellites and X-band’s ability to penetrate rain and other potential sources of interference, XTAR’s constellation provides, the company claims, reliable and technically capable communications network for airborne and other mobile applications.
XTAR’s success in the Airborne ISR market was reportedly achieved after an 18-month strategy to evolve the company away from supporting traditional satellite applications, such as point-to-point services, toward enabling the advanced applications required by today’s warfighter. As part of this strategy, XTAR re-pointed several of its steerable spot beams to better accommodate airborne and other applications which rely on small terminals. The company hopes to capture a significant portion of the future AISR market by fulfilling many similar requirements, especially as today’s global ISR market that is valued at over USD 18 billion continues to grow substantially. As ISR sensors become increasingly smaller and more efficient, XTAR anticipates that its satellite capabilities will enable increasing airborne missions.
XTAR is working with its integrator partners to ensure that its satellite capacity is available for government and military AISR requirements whenever and wherever they are needed. The company reportedly supports government and military users with commercial X-band satellite services to supplement the X-band payload of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system operated by the U.S. Air Force, which provides limited capacity and limited availability for this growing market of applications.