Air Force Awards Artel $18.9M Contract for Commercial Satellite Communications

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) awarded Artel its Commercial Satellite Communications (COMSATCOM) Pathfinder #2 contract (PF2). PF2 is the second of the SMC’s COMSATCOM Pathfinder program series – a program designed to explore new buying methods for COMSATCOM services for warfighter requirements. It is anticipated that the Pathfinder program will realize significant cost savings over traditional short-term leasing options. SMC has developed a series of COMSATCOM pathfinders each addressing a number of potential risks as the Air Force learns how to buy and contract for more affordable, higher performing and more mission assured/flexible COMSATCOM services.

For PF2, the SMC required domestic US Ku-band capacity that they intended to procure for the full life of a new satellite.  With the requirement being a minimum 72 MHz procurement, Artel assembled a team to include satellite operator Hispasat and satellite bandwidth provider Hunter Communications, who ultimately developed an innovative solution that uses the spectrum of three traditional transponders to form a single 108-MHz transponder on the upcoming Amazonas-6 satellite.  This solution materially enhances the value to the Air Force while reducing their cost of bandwidth over the life of the satellite.

In addition, the payload will comply with the CNSSP 12 security and overdrive protection requirements, which requires the Telemetry and Command (T&C) signals to incorporate advanced security and its payload to be protected from intentional or accidental over-powering from ground terminals.  The transponder will have a life expectancy of 15 years and will be available for use by the end of 2022.


About Artel  (

For 30 years, Artel, LLC (Artel) has been providing secure network communication services to Federal Government agencies. Based in the U.S. and backed by leading global private investment firms TPG and Torch Hill, Artel is a carrier-agnostic network integrator – developing customized solutions for our customers.  An International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 certified network systems integrator, Artel provides cost-effective, on-time delivery of global terrestrial and satellite network communication services, cyber security, risk management, and Information Technology (IT) solutions. 

Contact Cindy Davis at (571) 306-4471 and


About Hunter Communications (

Hunter Communications has been providing satellite solutions for government, energy, maritime and aeronautical sectors since 2001. Its core business pairs satellite capacity with the latest ground segment technology to provide innovative satellite communications solutions.  Hunter focuses on solutions for service providers primarily operating in the commercial and government sectors over North America.

Contact Billie Sims at (703) 395-3521 and 

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