SlingShot VHF device launches at Global MilSatCom

04 November 2014: Inmarsat and Spectra Group have launched a SlingShot VHF version of the L-band Tactical Satellite (L-TAC) service.

Peter Dingley, VP Offer Development, Inmarsat Global Government and Simon Davies, CEO Spectra Group announced the new solution at Global MilSatCom in London, showcasing its capabilities in allowing cross communication between government agencies.

The two companies developed the L-TAC service and the SlingShot system to provide a reliable, global and secure service for users who need access to Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications from tactical radios.

Secure BLOS

The VHF device joins the UHF version to provide a secure, multi-platform method of BLOS communications.

Single, customised and multi-headed beams ensure military and civilian end-users are able to maintain secure communications whenever they need them, wherever they need them. By combining forces Inmarsat and Spectra have been able to develop a uniquely smart, secure and cost-effective method of BLOS communications.

The need for secure communications continues to grow apace. It is vital for governments and international agencies to be able to communicate in areas where networks either don’t exist or have been destroyed by high intensity conflicts, natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

Existing radios

SlingShot is able to immediately convert existing radios to satellite-enabled devices. It is small, portable and lightweight, available as a manpack, vehicle-mounted and maritime platform, making it extremely cost-effective as it doesn’t rely on expensive hardware, additional equipment or replacement radios.

Simon Davies commented: “Our aim was to build an easy-to-use, affordable and reliable system that allowed military and government end-users to maintain real-time BLOS communications in all situations and locations while using in-service radios with national, multi-national and inter-departmental cryptographic security.

“By working in partnership with Inmarsat to develop the L-band service and ensuring that the SlingShot appliqué meets the demanding environments in which today’s high tempo, geographically dispersed operations take place, I believe we have achieved our aim. And with each new development we continue to seek new and innovative ways to maintain secure reliable communications wherever and whenever in the world.”

Market need

By enabling BOWMAN and SINCGARS to utilise the BLOS service, forces can keep the high tempo of operations without the need to establish repeater or radio rebroadcast sites to enable them to keep in touch with forward troops.

Peter Dingley added: “There was a market need to solve the bottleneck of limited UHF space capacity, which we have responded to by working closely with Spectra. Acutely aware of budget constraints our users are increasingly facing, we are providing access to the capability via a small low-cost appliqué unit, allowing existing radios to be used.

“The L-TAC service has attracted strong market interest and is already in active service with several major government users. The addition of VHF converters will allow a broader user base to benefit from this service than ever before.”

L-TAC: www.inmarsat.com <>
Spectra Group: www.spectra-group.co.uk