Since the system was launched in 2013, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd (Stand S7-355) has sold around 2,000 units of its SlingShot radio range-extension system to special forces and armies around the world. The company has just extended its sales partnership with Airbus to offer SlingShot as part of the Airbus communications portfolio. In the meantime, Spectra has been refining and improving the system.
SlingShot was developed to provide forces with an on-the-move beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications capability. The system allows existing tactical radios to be connected into commercial L-band satellite communications networks, increasing their reach to a global scale. The SlingShot is small and lightweight, and can be used by dismounted soldiers, in vehicles, and in aircraft and helicopters. Spectra claims that, compared with other BLOS systems, SlingShot is cheaper, offers more channel availability, and requires minimal training.
Spectra has recently introduced new power options for SlingShot that increase its flexibility and make setting it up even easier. A universal power supply unit has been developed that provides connectivity with a range of power sources, while an AA battery cassette is now available for the SlingShot Manpack system (pictured).
Another new option is the SlingShot Satellite Emulator (SSE). This is an L-band satellite emulator that allows the SlingShot to be tested without requiring a live satellite connection. The SSE behaves in the same fashion as a satellite, and can be used for training without the expense of a live connection, and without disturbance to operational networks. The emulator can be programmed to represent perfect connections, or with added noise to emulate edge-of- beam operations, increasing the system’s training and testing value.