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MILCOM 09: Ongoing military ops propelling $7.8 billion U.S. military airborne communications market

19th October 2009 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Forecast International projects that the U.S. military airborne communications market will be worth more than $7.8 billion from 2009-2018. 

During this timeframe, the military is expected to purchase some 9,200 airborne communications systems in addition to funding new technology development.

Theresa Hartley, Defense Electronic Analyst at Forecast International, says that the U.S. military’s goal of transmitting usable information faster from a greater variety of dissimilar sources is driving the need for more technologically advanced communications solutions.

Says Hartley, “Ongoing operations are driving the need for current communications systems such as radios, Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) terminals, and  Northrop Grumman’s Communication, Navigation and Identification (CNI) F-22 modules.”
  
About 63 percent of the dollar value of programs covered in this analysis represents product sales, with the remaining 37 percent falling under the funding category – largely R&D efforts.

Examples of the advanced communications programs currently under way are Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), Battlespace Information Exchange, Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), and RF Sensors & Countermeasures, as well as Tactical Data Link and Tactical Data Network programs.  The military is also investing R&D funds to continue development of ARC-210 radios and CNI and MIDS technologies. Also in progress is the Video from Unmanned aircraft for Interoperability Teaming – Level 2 (VUIT-2) effort.

This analysis, entitled “The Market for U.S. Military Airborne Communications Systems,” covers 17 leading programs or systems and includes developmental programs as well as established production programs.  In terms of market leaders, Boeing’s Family of Advanced Beyond line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T) is the largest in terms of funding. 

This transformational program is intended to provide a multimission-capable family of satcom terminals to the U.S. military and will eventually link ground, air and space platforms.  The FAB-T program is expected to be worth over $4 billion to the Boeing team overall, with over $2.8 billion to be spent on production terminals from 2009-2018.  Another $1.2 billion is forecast to be allocated for various FAB-T engineering improvements and R&D efforts.

In addition to Boeing, key industry players in terms of sales value include Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Data Link Solutions and ViaSat.   In terms of unit production, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins, ITT and Northrop Grumman will be the top companies over the next 10 years.

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