Inmarsat bullish on demand for UAV data relay

Satellite service provider Inmarsat doesn’t necessarily foresee a dip in demand for satellite data relay from military unmanned aerial vehicles, despite the drawdown of U.S. and coalition forces from Southwestern Asia, reports Aviation Week.

Just the opposite, UAV data services are likely to grow even as troop numbers fall, says Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce, who sees intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data from unmanned aircraft as a significant driver of demand for the company’s upcoming Global Xpress Ka-band satellite service, the story said.

“Ironically, the drawdowns don’t mean people go away,” Pearce said in the story. “To some extent, the boots on the ground are replaced by eyes in the sky."

The company's $1.3 billion Global Xpress constellation, which is scheduled to be deployed next year, will offer Ka-band satellite services to government and commercial users around the world, the story said.

The first of three Boeing 702-based Global Xpress satellites should be delivered in mid-2013, with launch expected about a month later, the story said. Inmarsat expects the system to be “fully global” before the end of 2014.

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