top of page
  • Writer's pictureGlobal Military Communications

Spectra SlingShot® and Inmarsat L-TAC™: a unique partnership

Spectra SlingShot® and Inmarsat L-TAC™: a unique partnership

Spectra Group and Inmarsat have established a remarkable and successful partnership between their two complementary technologies. SlingShot and L-TAC.

They combine to enable a unique capability – that of extending the range of tactical communications Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) while maintaining Communications on the Move (COTM). Easily and accessibly. Designed initially with Special Forces in mind, but with obvious benefits for the broader military market, Spectra’s SlingShot system comprises an appliqué, omni-directional antenna and a power source. The small appliqué converts in-service tactical UHF and VHF radios to L-Band satellite frequency so that it is possible to utilise Inmarsat’s Global (except Polar regions) L-band Tactical Satellite (L-TAC) service. Complementing Military SATCOM (TACSAT), L-TAC with SlingShot is a genuine and effective COMSATCOM alternative but with added advantages.

SlingShot’s simple conversion of UHF/VHF radio signals to L-band, transmitted across Inmarsat's non-contended global satellite network, offers the same BLOS communications enhanced with “on the move”. These Channels are readily available across Inmarsat’s Global Spot Beam network. This is a major advantage to legacy MILSATCOM, where communications must take place generally on the pause, and where Channels are in extremely short supply due to the high demand and limited capacity.

The combination allows users to augment and expand their existing tactical communications systems without the need to modify radio hardware or cryptography and in the knowledge that the channel is available where and when required. L-TAC channels are available on flexible leasing, from a month, and so can prove far more cost-efficient and flexible than comparable options.

Working uniquely together, SlingShot and L-TAC offer a combination of reliable voice and data connectivity, independent of local infrastructure, and available globally for vehicle-mounted and man-portable, land, maritime and air communications systems. Additionally, the SlingShot hardware is easy-to-use, requires minimal training and is highly cost-effective, in that it utilises in-service radio equipment.

The following scenario clearly illustrates the unique utility of SlingShot with L-TAC for command and control communications:

A coalition operation has a force lay-down that, by nature of the tactical situation and terrain, requires troops to be widely dispersed and able to manoeuvre rapidly.

Utilising in-service VHF manpack radios fitted with SlingShot and transmitting over L-TAC, the lead reconnaissance foot-patrol can provide a steady flow of information and intelligence as it moves forward; seamlessly in touch with their higher command, now situated well to the rear, without pausing to set up antennas. Live Situational Awareness feeds are transmitted from forward troops to the HQ by the SlingShot-enabled tactical radio over L-TAC, so they know the exact position of troops and assets at all times.

Through the same communications networks, the mounted elements of the main assault force can maintain communications with both the reconnaissance patrols and their HQ as they manoeuvre far beyond the range of tactical VHF combat radio, without the need to establish and secure radio re-broadcast equipment.

On another level, also using SlingShot / L-TAC combination, the force commander can be on the move and still able to speak securely and reliably to all subordinate elements, as well as to flanking coalition partners. Logistic elements that follow to the rear, possibly hundreds of kilometres away, can re-deploy to forward supply areas while maintaining effective communications, without the need for range-extension sites or the technical challenges of establishing mobile HF comms.

Combined with Inmarsat’s L-TAC lease service, SlingShot is designed for security and reliability. Once deployed, remote management and support are provided through Spectra’s 24/7 network operation centre, supported additionally by Inmarsat’s 24/7 NOC. So, whether required for defence & security, border security, aid & emergency, or commercial utility; if effective, secure, and cost-effective, BLOS voice and data communications are necessary for demanding, remote and hostile environments, then Inmarsat’s L-TAC enabled by Spectra’s SlingShot is the solution.

In summary SlingShot, in combination with L-TAC, can provide:

  • Strategic, secure tactical communications

  • Global coverage

  • Dedicated bandwidth

  • Voice and data; including Situational Awareness

With the following features:

  • Uses existing radio hardware and cryptography

  • Very small form factor, lightweight and low power consumption

  • Multi-platform: works with dismounted personnel and on land, marine and air platforms (fixed wing and helicopters).

  • Global access with strategic backhaul

  • Narrow, Multi-headed and Customised Beam footprints available

  • Beyond Line of Sight Communications independent of local infrastructure

  • Easy to use

  • Netted voice and data for an all-informed network

  • On the move, on the Pause or in Static HQs

  • Flexible leasing, with channel lease options from one month

Delivering Beyond Line of Sight capabilities including:

  • Secure Voice

  • Biometric Database Access

  • Situational Awareness

  • Artillery fire-plans

  • Email, file transfer and chat/free text

bottom of page