U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group Operations and High-Throughput, All-Weather X-band SATCOM


Navies around the globe know that not all radio frequency bands are created equal. As the graphic below depicts, radio signals with frequencies above 10 gigahertz (GHz) are crippled by atmospheric attenuation (i.e. “rain fade”) that degrades signal strength very quickly in hot, humid tropical environments; cold, rainy or overcast environments; sandy or dusty environments; and everything else in between. U.S. Navy carrier strike groups (CSGs) are currently deployed in each of these operating environments, which naturally makes U.S. Navy use of Ku-band (12-18 GHz) and Ka-band (26.5-40 GHz) problematic and costly. The natural answer to high rates of attenuation would be to shift to a lower frequency band, but lower frequency bands, such as C- band (4-8 GHz) attenuate less – but offer lower data rates. Navy satellite communications (SATCOM) users, and all savvy government users, have found the perfect balance of high-throughput and all-weather performance. That perfect balance is X-band SATCOM (7.25-8.4 GHz), and its balance of high-throughput, all-weather performance is so good that X-band has been specially reserved by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for government use only.


X-band is a key part of the U.S. Navy’s communications architecture because it is highly resistant to the effects of rain, snow, salt fog, dust, and even the effects of ice and fungal accumulation. The Navy Multiband Terminal (NMT), incorporating X-band, is widely deployed on U.S. Navy surface ships and submarines, and allows powerful CSGs and smaller flotillas – even peacetime steaming single-ship operations – to take advantage of X-band’s unique blend of properties. The U.S Navy’s premier airborne programs, the MQ-4C Triton UAV and P-8 Poseidon, also utilize X-band for these same reasons. X-band is so good, in fact, that the Department of Defense already includes it in its multi-billion dollar premier Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) constellation.

The news about X-band gets even better: even though X-band is reserved for government use only, these government users can purchase it commercially – just like any other SATCOM frequency band. XTAR has been providing X-band satellite communications services to government users since 2005. This means that a government user can enjoy all high-throughput, all-weather performance of X-band while enjoying the benefits of rapid, agile scheduling and occasional use service plans to keep costs down – and a frequency band devoid of price spikes, congestion, interference, and weather performance problems that characterize the Ku- and Ka- frequency bands today.

X-band: High throughput, all-weather performance. Devoid of price spikes, congestion, and interference. Reserved for government use. Available commercially from XTAR. The U.S. Department of Defense already gets it. So do many foreign militaries around the world. Now see what X-band can do for you.