As part of an in-theatre Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) program, QinetiQ has integrated a civil satellite communications system into a number of the UK MoD’s Joint Helicopter Force (JHC) assets. The requirement was to deliver beyond line of sight (BLOS) voice communications capabilities that allow deployed JHC assets to simply and efficiently communicate with operational headquarters.

In just eight to 12 weeks (depending on the platform) the company, working closely with the Identification and Communication Equipment (ICE) Integrated Project Team (IPT), went from the initial meeting to delivering this operational solution. The various stages included the initial feasibility study, investigating technical options, then recommending and deploying the optimum BLOS technology to meet the capability enhancement requirements across the identified aircraft variants.

The program brought together QinetiQ’s Malvern, UK-based communications design teams and engineering staff with its system evaluation services/flight engineering services personnel based at Boscombe Down, UK.

Together they evaluated the current capabilities and roles of the platforms and looked at the various commercially available systems on the market. This study determined that the maximum value would be realized by using a civil satcom-based solution.

The company was also tasked to develop and deliver a ground-based system, based on the same satcom technology, to provide in-theatre end-to-end connectivity. QinetiQ also took responsibility for the design and build of these units, including sourcing all ancillary components.