Armed forces across the globe will spend $30.6 billion to acquire 95 military satellites over the next 10 years, according to a projection by Forecast International (FI), a Newtown, Conn., firm.

The majority of this bonanza will come from the Pentagon.

Satellites to be developed and procured with this funding will range in size from large military satcoms such as the Wideband Global Satcom and Advanced EHF to the relatively small ELISA electronic intelligence satellite, according to FI.

Entitled"The Market for Military Satellites" and available at on the Web, the report projects that U.S. orders for military satellites will continue to far outstrip those of other nations.

This dominance will be based on the vast financial requirements anticipated for the transformational process, in addition to the high-priority reconnaissance and defense programs underway within the United States, according to FI.

Meanwhile, some factors will limit European military satellite programs. FI sees the ongoing trend of consolidation of European nations’ satellite efforts, combined with increased military use of civil remote-sensing systems, limiting production opportunities in that region.

Figures show how lopsided the demand for milsat assets likely will be.

The analysis projects that military satellite production in Europe, Japan and Israel will account for 27 spacecraft representing approximately 28.4 percent of the market covered in the report. In terms of value, production in those regions is expected to be worth $5.2 billion, or approximately 17 percent of market share, according to FI.

In painting a rosy picture for U.S. military satellite producers, FI estimates that in the United States, over $5 billion in military satellite production scheduled for the forecast period has yet to be contracted.

The massive GPS and Transformational Communications programs currently under way in the United States will provide a comparatively cushy fiscal pillow for manufacturers such as The Boeing Co. [BA], Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] and Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] to fall back on during the current commercial downturn, FI expects.

"In terms of unit production within the United States, Lockheed Martin outpaces its competitors as the number-one military satellite manufacturer in the world over the next 10 years," said John Edwards, Forecast International senior analyst and author of the study. Lockheed Martin is building the Advanced EHF constellation GPS III, the Navy Mobile User Objective System, and the Space Based Infrared, or SBIRS High, system, FI noted.

The United States enjoys an advantage in the military space arena second to none, according to the report, and accounts for nearly 90 percent of global military space spending, according to FI.

"This lack of balance in the world military satellite inventory and in military space capabilities as a whole is driving this dynamic market, and therefore the militarization of space will continue to be a vigorous and lucrative market," Edwards said.

Unlike the market for commercial systems, military markets are less exposed to risk when it comes to the ebb and tide of the consumer, which in this case is the military itself. "Therefore, manufacturers of these systems — especially in the United States — can look forward to a strong military satellite market over the next decade," said Edwards.