Analysis from Forecast International recently projected that the worldwide military satellite market will be worth $42.5 billion, based on production of 180 military satellites, from 2011-2020. The study claims that the U.S. is focusing on production of already-developed satellites, rather than on development of revolutionary new technology.

The company’s "The Market for Military Satellites" report covers thirty-five satellite programs, noting that these systems play a significant role in military operations, particularly for the U.S., which relies on communications and reconnaissance to achieve its goals on the battlefield. In this light, the DoD will also place more emphasis on smaller, inexpensive Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) satellites.

"With the increased focus on battlefield networking, communications satellite capacity is critical," said William Ostrove, aerospace systems analyst and author of the report. He continued, "governments are faced with large debt, and are reducing spending plans in response," said Ostrove. With respect to military satellites, budget cuts will be felt the most in the U.S., where satellite manufacturers have long enjoyed lucrative development and production contracts.

However, the study also states that despite budget troubles, the U.S. remains the most significant market in the world for military satellites. In terms of value, the United States will account for nearly three-quarters of military satellite production over the next 10 years. According to the report, other notable military satellite purchasers during the period will include Japan, France, Russia, and China. U.S.-based companies Boeing [BA] and Lockheed Martin [LMT] will benefit from the DoD’s reliance on satellites.