Nearly every day, military missions around the world rely on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for real-time mission intelligence—a technology that has taken off over the last twenty years. UAVs have become standard military equipment according to Intelligent Aerospace in their Drone Databook, a study released in September 2019, which shows that at least 95 countries maintain active military UAV programs, a 58 percent increase over just a decade ago.
While this new breed of aircraft has given militaries an unquestionable advantage in the war on terror, it has been called into question as to whether current UAV capabilities and the networks they operate on would stand up against a technologically advanced adversary. Given the rise in RF jamming, GPS spoofing, and other forms of deliberate interference with UAVs in global hotspots, it has become clear that the satellite communications (SATCOM) systems that UAVs rely on require ever-higher network resilience to withstand operations in contested environments.
With the near-global availability of commercial high throughput satellites (HTS), militaries worldwide have started to leverage them in conjunction with their government-owned satellites for Beyond Line of Sight (BLoS) communications.