With the growing use of satellite-based communication systems in the military, the Army is developing portable adaptors that can convert a standard Android cellular phone into a satellite phone.
“We need a programmable handheld adaptor that can connect to any Android phone via micro-USB or Bluetooth and convert it into a satellite phone,” an officer explained.
According to sources, the project will be outsourced through a competitive bidding process to the Indian industry.
The device must weigh less than 500 g and have a talk time of at least two hours and a standby time of at least ten hours.
While cellular phone coverage is not available in many areas where the armed forces are deployed due to a lack of nearby cellular towers for connectivity, satellite phones have no such limitations and can be used from virtually anywhere on the planet.
The army has satellite radio sets for communication, but these are mostly used to connect units and formations.
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Converting mobile phones into satellite phones would allow for faster and more convenient one-to-one communication and data transfer between individuals or small groups on the move.
The Army is also investigating ways to improve the security of satellite phone communication by developing anti-jamming and anti-spoofing circuits that can be integrated into handsets.