Border Patrol to Have New Terminals for Satellite Communications

Border Patrol to Have New Terminals for Satellite Communications

By Dialogo
July 26, 2012

New tactical terminals for military satellite communications will be used in Brazilian border-patrol operations. The “debut” of this equipment, recently delivered to the Ministry of Defense, is expected to take place during the next edition of Operation Agatha, which combats illicit activities along the border.

Portable and equipped with advanced transmission resources, the terminals extend the communications capability of the Brazilian Armed Forces during military operations. “With this equipment, it’s possible to have access to telephone, internet, videoconferencing, data exchange, and access to remote systems in faraway places,” stated Colonel (Ret.) Edwin Pinheiro da Costa, head of the Defense Ministry’s Telematics Section.

In all, 31 new “Fly Away” stations have been incorporated into the Defense Ministry’s Satellite Military Communications System (SISCOMIS), at a cost of 157,000 dollars per unit. The equipment was supplied by the Spanish company Indra, which is in charge of setting up both the (naval and ground) terminals and the network management system.

The main advantage of these stations is their rapid unfolding, ensuring that they can be easily transported and installed. Each station has a 1.8-meter antenna, weighs approximately 400 kg, and can be assembled in less than 20 minutes. The system has a data transmission capacity of four megabytes per second.

“This is very flexible equipment,” Col. Edwin Pinheiro said. “Today, we have 13 of these terminals installed on Navy ships, making satellite communication possible even when the vessels are in transit on the high seas,” he added.

According to him, the system has been widely used in Brazil and also abroad, including by the Brazilian peace forces operating in Haiti, where three units have been installed.

With the new batch supplied by Indra, the Brazilian Armed Forces will have a total of 87 portable terminals available. However, due to the lack of a Brazilian satellite, fewer than half of them can be used simultaneously, posing an obstacle to greater coverage of the national territory.

Currently, the space segment of SISCOMIS is based on renting an exclusive band (Band “X”) on the C1 and C2 satellites owned by the company Star One, a subsidiary of Brazilian telecommunications company Embratel with outside capital. According to the head of the Defense Ministry’s Telematics Section, the expected 2014 launch of a Brazilian geostationary satellite should change this picture, giving the Brazilian government complete control of the satellite.

“When the Brazilian government has operational and technological control of the satellite to be created by Brazilian telecommunications company Telebrás, it will be able to noticeably expand the usable potential and possible coverage of this equipment, including with a moveable beam, increasing the system’s flexibility,” Col. Edwin predicted.

“We will be able to use all of our portable terminals simultaneously, in addition to small terminals, such as the man pack and submarine types, enabling greater control and independence of our military communications,” he concluded.

The term Agata is very linked to my country, Guatemala. At first I thought this would be a Plan that would come to Central America, and even that it was born in Guatemala, but I see that it is due to Brazilian interests. Why not give extension to the Central Region if we, Guatemala, share with Mexico about one thousand kilometers, equivalent to one third of what the U.S.shares with Mexico. I read and get informed of the need to take the issue of security from the regional and global area. Then... down to work.