DoD will spend $5.7 billion on tactical communications by 2010

PALO ALTO, Calif., 6 June 2005. Current military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and the transformation of the force structure to adopt the Network Centric Warfare (NCW) doctrine is driving the U.S. to spend billions of dollars on digital tactical military communications.

Jun 6th, 2005

PALO ALTO, Calif., 6 June 2005. Current military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and the transformation of the force structure to adopt the Network Centric Warfare (NCW) doctrine is driving the U.S. to spend billions of dollars on digital tactical military communications.

Congressional and Pentagon focus is on filling immediate operational needs for ground forces fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Specific naval and air tactical communications will have secondary emphasis for the next few years, but platforms and technologies such as satellite communications -- that have direct operational impact for small units of troops on the ground -- are also a priority.

Department of Defense (DoD) spending for tactical communications was $4.78 billion in 2004 and estimated to reach $5.68 billion by 2010, according to a new analysis from analysis firm Frost & Sullivan's Aerospace and Defense Group.

The military services require improved connectivity to increase situational awareness, allow for better command decisions, faster targeting, and increased efficiency, says trhe study, "U.S. Tactical Military Communications Markets."

The tactical military communications industry is developing new technologies and sophisticated networked systems that enable soldiers and commanders to see the big operational picture and tighten the "sensor-to-shooter" kill chain.

"A large percentage of DoD tactical communications funding is allocated for systems integration work to 'bridge' existing radios and to incorporate new technologies as they come on line," notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Brad Curran.

Some transformational communications technologies are immature and the acquisition cycles are still too long and inefficient. Software Defined Radio, multi-layered access and security and long lasting lightweight power supplies are some of the technologies that have not progressed as quickly as planned.

The U.S. armed forces are experiencing difficulties with tactical radio systems. Current systems are dying due to end-of-service life and intense operational use that speeds normal attrition. The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) (the DoD solution) is not yet available and program schedules and funding have been delayed. The increasing capability gap is being filled by replacing and upgrading current radios such as SINCGARS, and the purchase of interim radios with some SDR capability.

The resulting gap between current equipment and the budgetary and technological timeline for the next generation of SDR, presents a unique opportunity for firms to provide interim tactical radio and network solutions.

Firms with innovative communications technologies that can demonstrate solutions to operational problems of war fighters will have success. Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions are often sought, because they save money and generally have open architectures that make integration with current and future systems easier.

"The communications technology and capabilities that are needed by the DoD are shared with industry, and they invite innovative firms to show how their product can meet specific concept of operation requirements," observes Curran.

U.S. Tactical Military Communications Markets, a part of the Aerospace and Defense subscription, provides an overview and outlook for the market. This study has been segmented into: Individual Radios, Squad Radios, Vehicle Radios and Intercoms, Data links, Tactical Satellite Communications, Tactical Networks, and Power Supplies. This research includes detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews are available to the press.

Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support the development of innovative strategies for more than 40 years. The company's industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership services and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities. Frost & Sullivan serves an extensive clientele that includes Global 1000 companies, emerging companies, and the investment community, by providing comprehensive industry coverage that reflects a unique global perspective and combines ongoing analysis of markets, technologies, econometrics, and demographics. For more information, see www.frost.com.

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