Inmarsat Global Government and Hughes join forces to develop BGAN
Inmarsat has signed a contract with Hughes Network Systems to manufacture the new Low Profile BGAN terminal, which will equip police forces and other government departments around the world with a discreet communications terminal.
Combining the proven reliability of Inmarsat’s globally available BGAN service with a lay-flat, rapidly deployable antenna, delivers an innovative, remote capability that allows unmanned, concealed surveillance.
“The development of Low Profile BGAN (LPB) grew out of the particular needs of our government customers and draws on the key strengths of our BGAN M2M service; reliability, global availability and the remote set-up, which allows for discreet and truly unattended connectivity,” said Peter Dingley, VP Offer Development, Inmarsat Global Government.
“A system that can be mounted discreetly is of great interest to Government departments. From police forces and similar agencies that need to leave unattended equipment or maintain a low profile, to overseas agencies whose satcom equipment become a target for malicious damage, this terminal with its lay-flat antenna opens a wealth of new opportunities.”
Power and connectivity capabilities are key features in the government market. The Low Profile BGAN offers a viable solution to both of these hurdles when operating in remote areas and, in this regard, provides a unique product offering. “When you add to this the ability to be buried or camouflaged to avoid detection, the Low Profile BGAN is expected to become the staple satcom backbone of future discreet operations,” continued Peter Dingley.
“This product directly builds on our successful work with Inmarsat in the machine-to-machine communications market,” said Graham Avis, vice president of Hughes San Diego. “I can see the low profile BGAN terminal being deployed in a variety of commercial and government applications where a conspicuous installation cannot be tolerated.”
The LPB is a rapid-to-deploy, lay-flat, coverable, covert terminal, which allows the user to mount the device outdoors, on flat surfaces or buried under a layer of material, whilst maintaining high-speed data rate connectivity for applications including the streaming of real-time video, audio and data to a variety of end users throughout the world. The solution is compatible with a wide range of currently available and future planned surveillance hardware. When fitted to these triggers, the LPB can lay dormant until awoken by a network command from the command centre or triggered into action by an event in the field. The multi-phased array antenna negates the need for complex pointing and meets government-level environmental and ingress protection.
The LPB is scheduled for end user testing later this year and the first 100 terminals are due for release from Quarter 3, 2014. Customer commitments have already been secured for a large proportion of this first production run with pre-production orders currently being taken for the remainder.