Airbus Defence and Space has partnered with Spectra Group (UK) Ltd to provide services which give global government users of tactical radios the ability to extend their communications reach to beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) using commercial satcom.

The service combines Inmarsat’s L-TAC service, commercial satcom (L-band), and Spectra’s SlingShot® – a small and lightweight device which is compatible with existing tactical radio hardware to extend communications (voice and data) to areas where radio coverage is not available.

“The ability to communicate from anywhere to anywhere is critical in the military environment. As a specialist military satcoms service provider, it is important for us to have a wide range of solutions in our portfolio to meet all our customers’ needs and requirements. We are pleased to partner with Spectra to offer this unique radio extension capability,” said Colin Paynter, Head of Airbus Defence and Space UK.

Without the need for significant hardware modifications or investment, and with a range of flexible and short term leasing options, Airbus Defence and Space’s customers are offered a value for money solution, even for smaller deployments. Options are available for tactical users as well as vehicle and maritime platforms. With global L-band coverage, 25 kHz channels can be broken into a variety of sub-channels, as well as single, customised and multi-operational beams. The service has options to suit each individual end-user.

Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra, said: “We are delighted that Airbus Defence and Space’s customers will now have access to the SlingShot® solution through the use of the L-TAC service. Our aim was to build a simple, cost-effective and reliable system that allowed end-users to maintain communications in all types of situations and locations. By working with Inmarsat to develop the L-band service and ensuring the SlingShot® appliqué was able to work with existing radios we have done just that. And with each new development we continue to provide new and innovative ways to maintain secure communications wherever and whenever in the world.”

Peter Dingley, VP of Inmarsat Global Government, added, “Working closely with our partner Spectra, we have responded to a market need to solve the bottleneck of limited UHF space capacity. We have also taken into account users’ ever tightening budgets by implementing access to the capability via a small low cost appliqué unit, allowing existing radios to be used.”