The SATCOM equipment market is projected to grow from USD 22.0 billion in 2021 to USD 53.7 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 19.6%. SATCOM equipment is an integral part of the communication in commercial and defense industry. The deployment of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites and constellations of satellites for communications applications has increased their demand across the globe. Other factors driving the market growth include growing demand for Ku- and Ka-band satellites, and the growing fleet of autonomous and connected vehicles used for various applications in the military and commercial sectors, which require customized SATCOM-on-the-move antennas.
SATCOM equipment market Size Forecast to 2026 With COVID-19 Impact Analysis
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant damage to the economic activities of countries across the world. The manufacturing of SATCOM equipment, including systems, subsystems, and components, has also been impacted. Although SATCOM equipment are critically important for a proper outcome from a satellite, disruptions in the supply chain have halted their manufacturing processes for the time being. Resuming manufacturing activities depends on the level of COVID-19 exposure, the level at which manufacturing operations are running, and import-export regulations, among other factors. While companies may still be taking in orders, delivery schedules may not be fixed.
Driver: Increasing use of electronically steered phased antennas
Increased demand for communication on-the-move (OTM) solutions for platforms such as commercial vehicles, military vehicles, trains, and boats has led to the greater use of electronically steered phased antennas (ESPA). These antennas can track and maintain satellite links even when platforms such as military vehicles, trains, or boats, are in motion. Hybrid beam steering is used in this phased array for OTM, both electronically for elevation and mechanically for azimuth. As an antenna terminal’s steering plays a major role in acquiring a satellite link, ESPA is used to eliminate mechanical motion.
In April 2019, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), in partnership with the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit, awarded a contract to Atlas Space Operations to prototype an electronically steered antenna array to support Air Force multi-band, multi-mission requirements.
In January 2021, L3Harris Technologies completed the development of an electronic phased array ground antenna for the U.S. Space Force. Lockheed Martin and Atlas Space Operations have also developed ESPA prototypes. The antenna developed by L3Harris—like those from Lockheed Martin and Atlas Space—was integrated with the Space Force’s Satellite Control Network to demonstrate multiple simultaneous satellite contacts. The SCN is an aging network of parabolic dish antennas used to fly military satellites.
Restraints: High costs associated with development and maintenance of infrastructure to support SATCOM antennas
The high cost incurred in the development and maintenance of earth station infrastructure is one of the major factors hindering the market growth. Most of the required components are typically custom-fabricated or purchased from commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vendors—in both cases, expensive. Besides, the design, development, and construction of antennas and their components require several hours of work by trained personnel. The level of skill required itself poses a significant barrier to entry. Significant investments are also required in the R&D, manufacturing, system integration, and assembly stages of the value chains of these systems.
Moreover, SATCOM services are used for highly sophisticated defense systems, due to which any incident of system failure is unfavorable. Apart from being highly accurate and reliable, they must be durable and energy-efficient and have wide detection ranges. As a result, to maintain market leadership and stay competitive, companies in this market must develop highly functional and efficient ground facilities. This translates into significant investments in testing and infrastructure and collaborations with universities, research institutes, and other companies.
Opportunities: Increasing adoption of small and portable SATCOM terminals by retail consumers
A portable SATCOM terminal, which is also called a satellite communicator or hotspot, is one of the smallest 2-way satellite communication devices. The device uses an internal GPS chip to gather location information. When the SEND is triggered, this information is sent via commercial satellites to a commercial monitoring agency, whose role is to pass the information to an appropriate responding agency. Typical users/purchasers of these devices are participants in activities such as hiking, mountain biking, climbing, boating, and flying. It is also useful for those who work in remote areas (loggers, foresters, geologists, fisheries, and wildlife staff). Additional features are sending preprogrammed messages and breadcrumb tracking via Google Earth. Some newer devices offer 2-way communication via satellite; for example, Germin InReach mini, Spot X, Zoleo satellite communicator, and Bivy stick blue.
In 2020, Iridium launched its Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service. The launch of new GMDSS terminals provides Iridium with access to a fleet of vessels that are required by maritime law to maintain this L-band safety service. GMDSS is a sophisticated safety network designed to provide communication and coordination between people, vessels, and even aircraft to facilitate rescue and disseminate weather and navigation information.
Challenges: Vulnerability of SATCOM devices to cybersecurity attacks
Incidents of cybersecurity breaches have increased across the world in the past few years. Security is the most significant area of technical concern for most organizations deploying IoT systems, and now 5G networks, with multiple devices connected across networks, platforms, and devices. This is also true for satellites, given the size and scope, as well as the number of earth station access points. IoT proliferation means if one single device isn’t encrypted or the communication isn’t protected, a bad actor can manipulate it and potentially a whole network of connected devices. It isn’t just the devices themselves that need to be protected, but it is also every stage of data transmission too. In 2014, serious design defects and vulnerabilities in a popular SATCOM device were identified by a US-based security firm, IOActive. According to the company, these design vulnerabilities could allow hackers to intercept, block, manipulate, and even take full control of critical communication systems, thereby affecting operations of airborne SATCOM used on ground, airborne, and marine platforms. Various security measures have been undertaken by major airborne SATCOM manufacturers to safeguard their communication systems.
Increasing demand for customized SATCOM-on-the-Move solutions for unmanned ground vehicles is driving the demand for SATCOM EQUIPMENT
SATCOM-on-the-Move (SOTM), or satellite communications on-the-move, is a phrase used in mobile satellite technology, specifically related to military ground vehicles. The basic principle behind SATCOM-on-the-Move is equipping a vehicle to establish communication while moving. SOTM capability allows armed forces to share voice and data communication efficiently and effectively while traveling in tactical ground vehicles at speeds of up to 130 km/h (80 mph).
Russian proxy interference against Ukrainian armed forces conducting anti-terrorist operations includes the jamming of VHF, UHF, and GSM signals and full network suppression in some areas of eastern Ukraine. Such targeting of tactical communication networks has prompted multiple armed forces worldwide, including the US Department of Defense (DoD), to consider alternative means of communication in a tactical environment. This outlook can prove to be highly favorable to the market for antennas, as militaries seek to update their tactical capabilities and look for higher levels of excellence. In such scenarios, SOTM will become a highly viable, even necessary, tool.
In March 2020, Israel’s Elbit Systems supplied satellite communications on-the-move for Canadian Armed Forces in a deal with Rheinmetall Canada. The deal involved triple-band ELSAT 2100 SOTM systems that aid in real-time broadband communications for moving vehicles. It uses military and commercial satellites, including the U.S. Air Force’s Wideband Global SATCOM constellation.
Based on platform, airborne SATCOM segment is estimated to account for the fastest growth of the SATCOM equipment market from 2021 to 2026.
Based on platform, airborne SATCOM segment is estimated to lead the SATCOM equipment market from 2021 to 2026 and is projected to grow further due to the increasing need for high-definition intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) videos, and increasing number of connected commercial aircraft, rising adoption of UAVs and rising number of private aviation companies worldwide supporting market growth. In December 2019, The French Airforce have enhanced their Airborne Satellite communication capabilities by adopting new Thales technologies. The French Defense agency awarded a contract to Thales to design and built the next-generation Syracuse 4 satellite communication system. This contract enables French defense forces to improvise the SATCOM system in the Charles De Gaulle Aircraft Carrier and the Rafale combat aircraft.
Based on solution, product segment of the SATCOM Equipment market by solution type is projected to witness the largest share in 2021.
Based on solution, the market for product is expected to lead the SATCOM equipment market from 2021 to 2026. This is due to increasing demand of phased-array antenna systems in airborne and maritime platforms, high-speed data communication in aircrafts, need for high-bandwidth data in harsh and isolated environments and weather-proof enclosures that protect SATCOM antennas. In February 2021, Comtech Telecommunications Corp. received a contract from NASA’s Glenn Research Center for a Ka-/S-band antenna system and radome to be installed at its new Aerospace Communications Facility in Cleveland, OH, supporting high-bandwidth space and aeronautics communications research. In January 2021, Thales secured its third delivery order to provide the US Army with the AN/PRC-148D improved multiband inter/intra team radios (IMBITR). The number of IMBITR radio orders were more than 6,000.
Based on verticals, commercial segment is estimated to account for the fastest growth of the SATCOM Equipment market from 2021 to 2026.
Based on verticals, commercial segment is expected to lead the SATCOM equipment market from 2021 to 2026. This is due to increasing need for uninterrupted mobile broadband coverage in remote and far-flung regions, streaming information and entertainment, extensive use of small satellites for commercialization and data transferability, technological advancements in transport and logistics network, and increasing demand for broadband connections and VSAT connectivity. In July 2021, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) accepted the sector regulator’s call to allow VSAT operators to provide satellite-based cellular backhaul connectivity to telcos to ensure uninterrupted mobile broadband coverage in remote and far-flung regions.
The North American market is projected to contribute the largest share from 2021 to 2026 in the SATCOM equipment market
Based on region, North America is expected to lead the SATCOM equipment market from 2021 to 2026. The US is a lucrative market for SATCOM equipment in the North American region. The US government is increasingly investing in the field of SATCOM to enhance the quality and effectiveness of satellite communication. The increasing investment on SATCOM equipment to enhance defense and surveillance capabilities of the armed forces, modernization of existing communication in military platforms, critical infrastructure and law enforcement agencies are increasingly using SATCOM equipment are key factors expected to drive the SATCOM equipment market in North America. In August 2020, The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) awarded Cubic Mission Solutions (CMS) a follow-on, single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract with a ceiling of USD 172 million. The contract is for the delivery of Ground Area Transmit Receive (GATR) inflatable SATCOM terminals and baseband communications equipment in support of the communications requirements of Special Operations Forces (SOF).
Key Market Players
The SATCOM equipment market is dominated by a few globally established players such as Thales Group (France), L3Harris Technologies (US), Honeywell International Inc. (US), Hughes Network Systems (US), Viasat, Inc. (US), among others, are the key manufacturers that secured SATCOM equipment contracts in the last few years. Major focus was given to the contracts and new product development due to the changing requirements of commercial, homeland security and defense & space users across the world.
The study categorizes the SATCOM equipment market based on solutions, vertical, technology, connectivity, frequency, platform, and region.
- Phased Arrays
- Passive Phased Array (PESA)
- Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA)
- Hybrid Beam Forming
- Digital Beam Forming (DBF) Array
- MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output)
- Phased Arrays
- Power Amplifiers
- Gyro Stabilizers
- Modem & Routers
- Another component (RFU, NDU, Antenna subsystems, splitier/combiner, adapter plate)
- Engineering & Integration
- Logistics & Maintenance
- Land Mobile
- Commercial Vehicles
- Military Vehicles
- Emergency Vehicles
- Unmanned Ground Vehicles
- Land Fixed
- Command & Control Centers
- Earth Stations/Ground Station
- Direct To Home (DTH)/Satellite Tv
- Enterprice Systems
- Commercial Aircraft
- Military Aircraft
- Business Jets
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
- Commercial Ships
- Military Ships
- Unmanned Maritime Vehicles (UMVs)
- C Band
- L,&S Band
- X Band
- Ka Band
- Ku Band
- UHF Band
- SHF Band
- Telecommunication & Cellular Backhaul
- Media & Entertainment
- Business & Enterprise
- Transportation & Logistics
- Scientific Research & Development
- Retail & Consumer
- Government & Defense
- Homeland Security & Emergency Management
- LEO orbit
- MEO/GEO orbit
- North America
- Asia Pacific
- Middle East & Africa
- South America
- In June 2021, Iridium communications inc. received a research and development contract from the united states army to develop a payload to be hosted on smallsats that support navigation systems, guidance, and control for the Global Positioning System (GPS) and GPS-denied precision systems. The army intends to develop this payload to support the concept of a rapidly deployable smallsat constellation to provide more effective sensor-to-soldier data transmission when in the field.
- In June 2021, Gilat Satellite Networks received a contract from Peru’s programa Nacional de telecomunicaciones (Pronatel) for the delivery of internet services to hundreds of sites in Peru.
- In May 2021, ASELSAN signed a contract with Türksat for the Ka-Band National Satellite Communication HUB System and Modem Development Project. The systems to be developed under the project will support the delivery of uninterrupted broadband satellite internet service, especially in challenging terrains where there is no terrestrial infrastructure. These systems will also provide air and sea platforms with easier access to broadband satellite internet service.
- In April 2021, L3harris Technologies received contracts from a country in Asia for a fully integrated suite of soldier radios and Satcom terminals as part of the country’s software-defined radio modernization program.
- In April 2021, Cobham SATCOM And Alphatron Marine signed a certified service center contract, further increasing the partner network. the addition of Alphatron marine to Cobham satcom’s extensive world-class service network will further enable sailor and sea users to access efficient, high-quality, and cost-efficient services wherever they are in the world.
- In February 2021, Viasat was awarded a contract by airbus to upgrade the Ultra- High Frequency (uhf) Satellite Communications (SATCOM) Network Control Stations (NCS), delivering the uhf skynet capability to the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD).
- In December 2020, L3Harris Technologies received a competitive award for its Falcon Iv an/prc-163 2-channel handheld radios, along with related equipment and services, as part of the us army’s 2-channel leader radio IDIQ contract.
- In October 2020, Cobham SATCOM and Inmarsat were awarded a new contract to connect 732 fishing vessels active in the Maldives economic exclusion zone to Inmarsat’s fleet one maritime broadband services.
- In June 2020, Iridium Communications signed a contract with Relativity Space to deliver satellites to the LEO. The contract included flexible timing for up to 6 dedicated launches to deploy Iridium’s ground spare satellites.
- In April 2020, L3Harris Technologies was awarded a 5-year, Ceiling, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract by the US Space Force’s Space And Missile Systems Center (SMC) has awarded a, with an initial delivery order of USD 30.6 million for the air force and army anti-jam modem (a3m). A3m provides the department of the air force and army with a secure, wideband, anti-jam satellite communications terminal modem for tactical satellite communication operations.