New Inmarsat service to support crucial emergency comms

25 June 2014: Inmarsat and voice and data services company Spectra Group UK have launched L-TAC VHF for the civil government market.

The new service will extend Inmarsat’s range and capabilities for VHF radio use by the emergency services and enable full interoperability between civilian and defence forces radios in the event of a major incident or civil emergency.

Inmarsat’s L-TAC service, launched last year, is already being used by global defence forces to provide a low-cost Tactical UHF Satellite (TACSAT) capability, which extends the range of UHF tactical radios by linking them to Inmarsat’s secure and seamless satellite network.

Adapter kit

The Spectra Slingshot adapter kit – a small converter and antenna – has been designed exclusively for Inmarsat to enable defence departments and – for the first time – civil governments to rapidly convert existing radios to access the L-TAC network.

In addition, Inmarsat has introduced a VHF Simplex version of the Slingshot adapter kit to extend the L-TAC service into the new frequency band used extensively by end-user radios worldwide.

The two Sling shot VHF variants are:

  • A military band operating at 58 to 88MHz, and
  • A new civil commercial band operating at 144 to 174MHz.

Both VHF variants and the original UHF Slingshot can all be used within a single L-TAC network to allow full interoperability between radios.

Disaster scenario

“In a disaster scenario, our new civilian L-TAC service would enable normally disparate teams such as military, police and civil agencies to work more closely together,” said Andy Start, President, Inmarsat Global Government. 

“While they may all be using different radio types and frequency bands with L-TAC, they can interconnect with each other without the current need for a retransmission facility.”

For regular VHF users, L-TAC offers a fast-to-deploy and cost-effective capability for extending terrestrial coverage, either in remote terrains where there is no local VHF repeater or where natural or criminal action has destroyed the repeater.

Combating terrorism

Border protection and combating terrorism or drug cartels are typical operational applications for such technology.

Both UHF and VHF variants of Slingshot are available in vehicular, maritime and manpack versions and all can be combined into a single L-TAC network.