Satellite communications vendor ViaSat UK has launched a range of high-capacity satellite-based products, designed for use by the UK military and government, following its acquisition of UK security specialist Stonewood last year.
The offerings range from data security products – including the only USB drives certified to store CAPS Impact Level 6 Top Secret data – to portable broadband communications, network encryption devices and real-time tracking and situational awareness solutions.
“It is no secret that the UK military and government need to ensure they are receiving the best possible value for money out of every single piece of equipment they commission,” said Chris McIntosh, chief executive of ViaSat UK.
“Products such as ViaSat UK's communications and security offerings can provide the capability government and military need without the associated financial burden or risk of procurement project failure.”
The full list of products includes a portable satellite broadband receiver known as Surfbeam, a vehicle-mounted antennae that allows real-time intelligence gathering, a 'Blue Force Tracking' and situational awareness system that allows forces to monitor the location of friendly troops, secure applications for Android phones, encrypted hard drives and network encryption technologies.
The launches are part of a wider strategy by the company to increase its presence in Europe. ViaSat already offers high speed broadband via its own Ka-band satellite system, ViaSat-1, to businesses and consumers in the United States. However, ViaSat-1's footprint only covers the US, Canada and Hawaii, so in the ViaSat UK has to piggyback on top of other providers.
The company currently provides satellite transmitters for government, businesses and consumers in the UK, but broadband connectivity comes through Eutelsat’s KA-band satellite. It also offers a range of enterprise networking products, which make use of the company's satellite communication VSAT systems.
“From military and Government operations in far-flung theatres, to news gatherers reporting the latest developments live; to emergency services looking to reach those stranded far from home; to those searching for and extracting valuable natural resources; being able to maintain contact reliably and efficiently is vital,” added McIntosh
Satellite broadband has long been proposed as a way to address Europe’s digital divide, going some way to solving Europe’s connectivity problems by providing Internet access in remote areas of the continent.
In February this year the European Commission vice president for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, wrote to 21 of the EU’s 27 member states, including the UK, urging them to remove the legal obstacles to the introduction of satellite broadband as a matter of “urgency”.