Brazil is looking skyward to provide secure communications necessary for its military forces. Using SISCOMIS, the country’s national System for Military Satellite Communications network, Brazil is turning to satellite communications to play a progressively larger role in its joint military structure. Recent initiatives are seeing new terminal procurement, further hubs and two additional satellites that would join recently launched orbiters beginning in 2014. Brazil also is employing international government-to-government cooperation with France to access advanced military satellite communications technology and capabilities.
China’s navy has begun using unmanned aerial vehicles as part of its blue-water operations. At least one type has been photographed by foreign reconnaissance aircraft, and other variants have been reported. Not only has China been displaying an assortment of models at air shows, it also is incorporating advanced U.S. unmanned vehicle technology into current and future systems.
The People's Liberation Army Navy has at its disposal a variety of boats and ships for use in littoral waters. They are organized under separate maritime agencies that carry out specific missions officially similar to their counterparts in other countries. Yet, despite their diverse nature, these vessels together constitute an unofficial fourth fleet for the Middle Kingdom's navy.
The People's Republic of China's People's Liberation Army Navy has three well-known fleets—the North Sea, East Sea and South Sea fleets. Yet, China boasts another large group of ships that serves the country’s naval objectives but is relatively unknown.
The export laws imposed by the U.S. government on defense-related goods and information have been a source of aggravation for U.S. companies and foreign customers for years. Private-sector firms continue to push for changes, and both the enforcement agencies and the current presidential administration are responding. However, interested parties sitting outside the border see several issues that might not be at the forefront for those making the adjustments.
China has departed from tradition with a new naval ship design that may be the vanguard of an entirely new class of littoral warships. These corvette-type vessels feature modernized systems that offer China unprecedented flexibility in a range of sea missions.
The French army soon will deploy a tactical battlefield communications and data network that aims to provide battalion command posts with on-the-halt satellite and line-of-sight connectivity. The system is part of France’s ongoing efforts to convert its military into a fully network-centric force. In addition to extending high-bandwidth networking down to mobile command posts, the program also lays the foundations for a future fully mobile communications capability.
China’s growing blue-water naval strength soon may be augmented by the country’s first aircraft carrier. A series of seemingly unconnected steps over the past two decades have positioned the People’s Republic to begin construction and incorporation of a modern carrier into its fleet.
NATO is transitioning its satellite communications infrastructure from an ownership- and capability-based “bent pipe” arrangement to a more fluid, service-led approach. The challenge for the alliance now is in making plans and provisions for that new capability, which aims at providing a guaranteed ability to obtain the required services to meet collaborative communications needs in space and on the ground.
The U.S. Army recently finished construction of an optical network that offers troops in certain foreign locations all the data transmission speed and availability they need for the foreseeable future. After Defense Communications Systems–Europe completed the development process earlier this year, the 5th Signal Command took over control of the network and is studying how best to migrate from asynchronous transfer mode legacy systems to the new one.