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Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation

Spectra's SlingShot has been procured by several NATO nations for their Special Forces and Special Operations Forces [© Bob Morrison]

Communications specialists, Spectra Group (UK), have received the highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category for their innovative system, SlingShot.

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Press Release, 23 April 2019: SlingShot is a small, low powered and lightweight system that delivers game-changing capabilities to existing military and first responder radio networks.

The SlingShot Appliqué unit, spare battery and leads fits into a small PALS/MOLLE pouch [© Spectra Group UK]

When connected to military or commercial UHF/VHF radios, SlingShot extends their range from Line of Sight to Beyond Line of Sight covering thousands of mile radius by utilising the Inmarsat I-4 commercial satellite network L-TAC Service. The system works by simply converting UHF or VHF radio frequency signals to the L-Band frequency used by the L-TAC Service and is the only product of its size that enables portable tactical beyond line-of-sight voice and data communications whilst on the move.

SlingShot’s unique capability offers military, emergency and disaster-relief agencies the ability to reliably communicate in remote and harsh environments without the need to rely on existing communications infrastructure or deploy additional communications infrastructure. It also enables global interoperability between coalition forces and agencies using different radio systems, without the requirement, or need, to swap equipment and receive additional training.

Spectra’s innovation stemmed from a realisation in 2012 that there was a previously unutilised capability of the Inmarsat satellite that would have huge potential in both military and first responder sectors. Working closely with Inmarsat a working concept was developed and approved for use by the British military within weeks and production started in less than 9 months.

A SlingShot carry-on pack is available to allow an operator to easily take their comms system from vehicle to boat to aircraft [© Spectra Group UK]

SlingShot is versatile enough to be used in aircraft, vehicles, maritime platforms and [by] dismounted personnel. Spectra has since gone on to successfully market SlingShot globally providing a capability that has proved to be of critical importance and has undoubtedly contributed to the saving of lives. With strong global sales and increasing recognition of SlingShot’s capabilities within the user community, Spectra Group opened a US office in October 2018 and continue to expand their export footprint.

CEO Simon Davies commented: “Working on the design, and building a business, supplying a product that has the ability to revolutionise communications in theatres of operation, not only for soldiers but emergency services and disaster areas is very satisfying. As a former soldier in the Royal Corps of Signals, knowing that the equipment we provide enables soldiers and first responders around the world to conduct operations with reliable and robust communications so that when they need to call for assistance, that they communicate, first time every time is very motivating for me and my team.”

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