Military Communication refers to the transmission of information from units in contact with the enemy to other units or the exercise of command by commanders to their sub-ordinates through transmission of instructions. Military communication includes all means of relaying messages, including, orders, reports and messages, in the field or sea.
The earliest known ways of military communication were the employment of messengers. Ancient emperors established distinct elaborate system of message relays to stay in contact with the homelands during their wars or invasions. Genghis Khan is known to have utilized homing pigeons as messengers along with human messengers. Before the end of the 18th century, European armies initiated the use of visual telegraph system which was devised by Claude Chappe. The Prussian army assigned such visual telegraph duties to engineer troops in 1833.
Early signalling between naval vessels was conducted through pre-arranged messages signalled by flags, lights or the direction/movement of a sail. During the 17th century, Sir William Penn and others developed regular codes for naval communication. Towards the close of the 18th century, Admiral Richard Kempenfelt developed a plan of flag signalling similar to that now in use. This was later improved by Sir Home Popham who increased the effectiveness of ship-to-ship communication by improved methods of flag-signalling.
Only with the invention of electric telegraph by Samuel Morse did the real development cam for military communication. In his successful demonstration of electric communication between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore in 1844, he provided a completely new means of rapid signal communication. This development of the Morse Code was soon used to augment the various means of visual signalling. Telegraph was first applied in the time of war by the British in the Crimean War in 1854. During the American Civil War (1861-65), extensive use was made of the electric telegraph.
The invention of the telephone in 1876 was not followed immediately by its adoption for military communication. This was because the development of long-distance telephone communication was not achieved for many years. The telephone was first used by the U.S. Army in the Spanish-American War. Towards the end of the 19th century, the wireless telegraph-radio- made its first appearance. Radio became extensively used during wars and became an important global military communication medium.
During World War I, field telephones and switchboards were developed to improve military communication. Visual signalling returned to warfare with the use of electric signal lamps. Pyrotechnics, flares, rockets were used for visual signalling. Homing pigeons and dogs were used as messengers. The airplane was a new element in warfare during WWI. But radiotelephone technology was not highly developed. WWI taught the countries to invest more in research and development to augment military communication. These developments opened up to the armed services the possibilities of portable short-range equipment for mobile and portable tactical use by armies, navies, and air forces.
Between WWI and WWII, the teleprinter was incorporated for military wire-communication systems. Frequency modulated (FM) radio grew during the same period.
Military efforts for signal communication continued to intensify post World War II. Two major additions in the U.S. Army were television and digital and analog computer equipment. Television proved a valuable training aid in military schools, where mass instruction, especially in manual skills, was needed and where instructors were few. Portable television in the field proved valuable for sending back to headquarters, by antenna radiation co-axial cable, a picture of any scene of operations such as a river crossing.
Global military communications system has, since then, expanded vastly, combining the powers of television, radar and other instruments using electromagnetic radiation spectrum. Today, modern communication has permitted the co-ordinated delivery of missiles or airstrikes. Satellite Communication have received increased importance in global military communications market.
Global Market Estimates Research and Consultants (GME) recently updated a report on Global Military Communications Market. The report talks about the market on basis of different segmentations, such as by component (military satcom systems, military radio systems, military security systems and communication management systems), by application (command control, routine operations, situational awareness and emergency response), by end-use, and by region.