Spectra Group SlingShot extending range of tactical VHF radios


Armed forces around the world can now benefit from a unique ‘plug-and-play’ solution that extends the range of legacy tactical radio sets by thousands of kilometres. Spectra Group’s SlingShot system is already in service with several NATO special operations forces. It attaches quickly and simply to legacy UHF or VHF radio sets, providing them with instant access to L-Band satellite frequencies for beyond line of sight (BLOS) voice and data communications.
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SlingShot is a unique system that enables UHF and VHF radios to work on L-Band Satellite frequency, allowing users to instantly extend the range of their communications equipment to BLOS (Beyond Line of Sight). Conceived and designed to meet demanding Special Forces requirements. (Picture source: Spectra Group)


Designed to support expeditionary forces operating in austere and remote areas of the world without dedicated signals support, SlingShot extends the maximum range of legacy VHF and UHF radio sets from approximately 30km to more than 1,000km.SlingShot comprises a UHF/VHF appliqué; omnidirectional antenna available in manpack, vehicle, maritime and aviation variants; and power systems. Appliqués weigh up to 605g, dependent upon configuration.

By design, the system works with whatever power is available to provide forward-deployed units with low latency voice and data communications on Inmarsat’s I-4 L-Band SATCOM. It can be plugged directly into a vehicle power board or operated for up to 24 hours on a single charge of an MBITR radio battery. Connectors are available for other military-rated batteries.

Ideal for expeditionary operations conducted beyond the support of fixed communications infrastructures, SlingShot also enables communications on the move without degradation to service quality. It also negates any requirement to conduct communications-on-the-pause, as is the case with more traditional UHF SATCOM systems.

Deploying SlingShot also means end-users no longer need to carry an additional legacy UHF SATCOM radio set. Instead, end users can employ a standard VHF or UHF radio and switch to L-Band for BLOS COTM. SlingShot’s ease of use also minimises any additional training burden on end-users.

Beyond the provision of secure voice, SlingShot also retains high data throughput levels to support additional applications such as situation awareness, GPS tracking, reporting, and other data messaging services without reliance upon fixed communications infrastructure.

As Spectra Group’s CEO, Simon Davies, said: “We’ve already seen SlingShot become a battle-proven and battle-winning capability used by special operations forces across the globe. Weare delighted to now see our SlingShot system being used on operations by more regular units. “Given the geographic reach and higher tempo of modern militaries, SATCOM is necessary to ensure mission-critical and long-range communications. SlingShot provides forward-deployed team leaders with a unified tactical network at the tactical level, capable of enabling cohesive mission command at every stage of the joint operational spectrum from home station to early entry and the tactical edge of the battlefield.” he said.

SlingShot is already in service with a number of non-SOF units, including in UK and USA. The British Army has adopted the technology to extend the range of VHF Bowman tactical radios, deployed on operations. Voice and data communications are secured end-to-end by Bowman’s encryption software.



 

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