Commercial ships are the most cost effective and fastest means of transporting goods globally but pirate activity is a significant threat that costs the world economy between $7 and $12 billion annually according to a recent estimate by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a coalition of 22 nations led by the United States, is now engaged in efforts to promote security and stability in response to the growing threat of piracy across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters in and around the Arabian Sea. However, executing effective strategies against piracy, terrorism, and other criminal activities at sea requires a common satellite communications system on coalition vessels that can deliver high performance at low cost, handle heavy data needs, and be deployed easily. The global mini-VSAT Broadband network and the TracPhone® V7 antenna from KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI) were chosen to meet these critical operational needs.
KVH is offering a new paper, “Meeting the Critical Communications Challenges of the Multinational Counter-Piracy Coalition: The Case for KVH TracPhone V7 and the mini-VSAT Broadband Global SATCOM Network”, which examines CMF counter-piracy operations and what makes KVH’s solution an effective tool for coalition forces.
Initially, coalition vessels were equipped with Inmarsat L-band systems. While Inmarsat’s small antennas, straightforward configuration, and coverage throughout the operational area were beneficial, the high cost of Inmarsat data and its high latency became prohibitive given the high data volume required by the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS), which is often encrypted and used by multinational task forces. Further, the forces in the operations are constantly changing. Various countries assign vessels, aircraft, and personnel to the task force, so it is necessary to use SATCOM systems that are simple to install and operate while delivering reliably high performance at a low cost. KVH’s 24" (60 cm) TracPhone V7 antenna can be installed by two people in a half a day, even while the vessel is underway, easily meeting the task forces’ hardware needs, and the global mini-VSAT Broadband network offers
reliable data and voice services at rates 1/10th the cost of Inmarsat.
“It is an emergency situation each time a vessel is captured by pirates, off the coast of Somalia or elsewhere,” explains Dan Conway, KVH’s vice president for business development. “The mini-VSAT Broadband network offers seamless global coverage so that U.S. and allied forces can communicate and determine the most effective way to rescue mariners in danger, as well as intercept and apprehend the pirates. We are pleased to support these efforts to ensure the safety of commercial crews and leisure boaters. Communications alone will not end the issue of modern piracy, but it is an invaluable tool for supporting the mission.”
Today, TracPhone V7 systems are also installed on high-value oil and gas terminals in the Arabian Gulf and on U.S. Navy and coalition vessels participating in the Combined Maritime Forces. The units are available to be deployed as needed in the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, and the Arabian Sea. These systems have already been successfully deployed on vessels of the navies of Thailand, Pakistan, the United States, South Korea, and Bahrain, among others. They were chosen in part due to the U.S. Coast Guard’s successful use of the TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband.
The mini-VSAT Broadband network is the first next-generation maritime satellite communications solution. The global spread spectrum satellite network, built with ViaSat’s patented ArcLight® technology, offers more affordable airtime, voice service and Internet access as fast as 512 Kbps (ship to shore) and 2 Mbps (shore to ship). KVH’s compact family of mini-VSAT Broadband-compatible TracPhone antennas are more affordable and faster and easier to install than competing solutions, and can be remotely disabled for security should the need arise. More than 1,000 TracPhone V7 systems were shipped in the first three years after the product’s introduction, making the mini-VSAT Broadband network the fastest growing maritime VSAT solution.