With Horsebridge acquisition, Viasat expands capabilities to support UK Defence operations

Horsebridge Defence and Security’s technology and personnel accelerate the global expansion of Viasat’s defence business

Ministry of Defence building
With its already close relationship at the UK Ministry of Defence, the Horsebridge team is in a key position to help with Viasat's global expansion plans.

UK-based Horsebridge Defence and Security designs, builds and supplies secure network solutions for a variety of UK government customers, including the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Horsebridge has significant expertise in understanding its customer’s needs and building effective customer value relationships. Their ability to answer those customer needs quickly and with the best possible solution available will be key enablers as Viasat accelerates its expansion into the global market. That ability to truly understand the customer’s needs and values is core to Viasat’s operating model and was one of the main factors leading to Viasat’s acquisition of Horsebridge.

As Ken Peterman, president of Viasat Government Systems, explained, “Horsebridge offers a deep level of UK Military systems integration and customer understanding that fits seamlessly into Viasat’s culture and commitment to delivering cutting-edge technology solutions that solve our customers’ toughest challenges.”

“There’s a real value to customer intimacy in this space,” Peterman added. “Our goals and interests are centered on finding better ways to deliver technology solutions warfighters need in today’s rapidly evolving environment. By acquiring Horsebridge, we will be able to combine our strengths to support UK Defence operations in brand new ways.”

When it comes to government procurement, the UK MOD has a similar process to the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD)—and in both cases the timeline for acquiring and deploying new technology is far too drawn-out in a world where threats change hour to hour. With today’s typical government procurement model, it can take up to 10 years before a new technology is deployed to the field — at that point, the technology is out-of-date, if not completely obsolete. The UK MOD’s Integrated Systems and Services organization (ISS) is making determined efforts to change this and to work with its suppliers in a more dynamic and flexible way to overcome this classic issue. The new, expanded, Viasat UK is well placed to support MOD ISS in this initiative, since both Viasat and Horsebridge have innovation at their core.

A better way

Viasat is committed to working closely with customers to understand the problems each of them face on the battlefield.  Then, through an agile development process and flexible business model, the company is able to deliver effective technology solutions today, not 10 years from now.  Or, as some in the organization like to say: “We are delivering tomorrow’s technology today rather than yesterday’s technology tomorrow.”

“In some instances, a solution may not even be something our customers ask for specifically, it’s all about understanding the problem that needs to be solved,” Peterman said. “By maintaining deep relationships with our customers and developing new technologies using agile development processes, we’re in a position to quickly and effectively deliver the technologies required to maintain a secure, connected tactical edge.”

Horsebridge, he said, is a key component to Viasat’s strategic growth initiatives. They have a similar approach to customer relationships, which will make them a valuable part of Viasat as the company expands globally. Along with the technologies and relationships, Horsebridge also brings the security credentials and expertise that will enable Viasat to be successful in the UK and global defence market.

With the acquisition, Horsebridge now has immediate access to Viasat’s expansive directory of global talent and suite of technology solutions. These new capabilities will help Horsebridge define, develop, and offer new defense NDI products and service for future warfighter use.

“Having access to Viasat’s broad portfolio of technologies and capabilities will enable us to create new secure communications and mobility platforms that leverage high-capacity mobile networks with assured availability — with accredited secure voice, video and messaging services — whenever and wherever military forces require it in the UK or overseas,” said Martin Flather, director, Horsebridge Defence and Security.

At Viasat we take pride in our ability to help the warfighter stay connected, maintain situational awareness, and expand their ability to conduct operations safely and securely no matter their location. We feel it is our responsibility to provide them with the best solution possible. We are privileged and eager to grow that capability in the UK with the help of the expertise and capability at Horsebridge.


Shannon O'Meara Smith
About Shannon O'Meara Smith 10 Articles
Shannon O’Meara Smith has in-depth Defense sector knowledge having served on active and reserve duty with both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. Today she is the executive director of Strategic Initiatives within Viasat’s Government Systems business where she helps develop long-term strategies around existing markets and the competitive landscape.