Satellite-based communications, with their broad coverage areas, allow geographically dispersed users to exchange information quickly and efficiently. Higher bandwidth availability and networking requirements in Military Satellite Communications (MilSatCom) create new opportunities for advanced electronic components. The Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service report, "MilSatcom Electronic Market Trends through 2020," predicts that the annual market for electronics will grow at a compound annual average growth rate (CAAGR) of 12 percent through 2020.

MilSatCom represents the largest category of defense satellites. MilSatCom platforms include the Wideband Gapfiller System (WGS) program, based on Boeing 702 platforms and designed for the US military, and the SICRAL satellites built by Thales Alenia Space, supporting both Italian and NATO military communications. Both growth in satellite launches and increasingly sophisticated capabilities will translate into an annual electronics market of nearly $2.58 B in 2020.

"As satellite capabilities become more sophisticated, the total electronics content for all the functions will also increase," noted Asif Anwar, Director of the Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service at Strategy Analytics. "Strategy Analytics estimates that the proportion of satellite system costs attributable to transponders, communications, computer, sensor and other related systems will continue to increase through 2020. Transponder electronics, as one example, will increasingly use multiple phased arrays to create multiple beams from a single array face, while communications systems will utilize more optical modules and fiber links. The overall shift toward net-centric communications philosophies will also increase the need for computer processing power."