The Canadian Government has awarded a contract worth CAN$3.29 M for a reconfigurable satellite terminal technology demonstration project, to a tri-team of companies comprising QinetiQ, Spectrum Signal Processing and MacDonald Dettwiler. The project is designed to develop, integrate and demonstrate a reconfigurable, multi-function ground-based satellite communications terminal that can replace several ‘system specific’ fixed function terminals.

By implementing Software Defined Radio (SDR) technologies and the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) developed by the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program in the United States, a single satellite terminal will be capable of supporting several satellite networks, operating at different frequencies with different waveforms and protocols. The resultant benefits include less equipment in the field, more cost-effective deployment, maintenance and support, and significant improvements in interoperability.

Commenting on his company’s involvement in the initiative, Nick Frall of QinetiQ’s secure wireless systems group, explained, “This project represents the first true application of software radio technology to the important field of satellite communications.” He continued, “It will demonstrate how software radio can directly impact usability for both Governments and Corporates, and as a recognised global leader in software radio, it further provides us with opportunities to demonstrate our abilities in the field.”