Spectra Group enhance SlingShot with Commercial Band upgrade for STOCS and Troposcatter will soon be on the Move

Slingshot and Troposcatter
Slingshot and Troposcatter

Spectra Group is an award-winning specialist, with over 20 years of operational experience, providing secure voice, data and satellite communications systems, in partnership with Inmarsat and COMTECH.

This year is the 10th anniversary of their award-winning SlingShot satellite system which has sold over 7000 units of SlingShot globally (over 4000 units deployed with USSOCOM and other US DoD departments) and there are hundreds of Troposcatter in use around the world.

The award-winning Spectra’s SlingShot is in operation around the globe – regular and specialist users have benefitted from the tactical edge that this battle winning technology provides.

Conceived and designed to meet the most demanding Special Forces requirements and now in operation with regular forces globally too, Spectra’s SlingShot is a unique, low size, weight and power (SWaP) system. It enables existing UHF and VHF tactical radios to extend their reach into the realm of strategic communications providing true Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) and Communications on the Move (COTM), without purchasing new radios.

By utilising Inmarsat’s commercial L-band Tactical Satellite (L-TAC), SlingShot allows a tactical net to be created over 1000s of kilometers and deliver a comprehensive range of tactical and operational network capabilities. SlingShot provides voice and data capability for Command and Control (C2), encrypted if required, and supports wide-ranging mission-critical applications, such as artillery fire missions, GPS tracking and biometric analysis, to mention a few. With greater utility compared to traditional TACSAT, increased and guaranteed channel availability and being plug and play with virtually no training burden, SlingShot has redefined tactical communications.

The addition of the SlingShot Tactical Operations Centre System (STOCS) in 2020, to allow the satellite antenna to be remotely located from the radio, and recent upgrades to include the UHF Commercial Band of frequencies demonstrates the constant evolution of the SlingShot system by Spectra Group to meet the needs of its users. Operationally proven, with regular and specialist units deployed in remote locations globally, this is a truly battle winning capability. SlingShot grants the user a full suite of both tactical and strategic communications with minimal infrastructure, enabling high tempo operations, enhancing force protection and facilitating complex multi-agency interoperability all delivered from a bolt on system that is simple, reliable and cost-effective.

The next generation Troposcatter on the Move (TOTM) is coming.

The use of the troposphere for communications is not new, but in the past, it was constrained by large dishes and significant power that was not suitable for modern manoeuvre warfare. COMTECH’s 10Watt Compact Over-the horizon Mobile Expeditionary Terminal (COMET) system revolutionised this capability making it small, lightweight and portable. It has been available from the NATO catalogue for the last 2 years, is in use with expeditionary forces around the world – such as the US DoD, Royal Marines and HQ ARRC – and is operationally proven with over 40 terminals currently deployed in Ukraine.

The Troposcatter COMET system is ideal for providing a secure big data network for deployed headquarters from divisional down to company level because it is small and lightweight. Due to its low power and directional nature it is also extremely difficult to detect and deny. It uses a maximum transmit power of 10-watts and only needs a 1-meter dish, but still has low latency (typically 9-20mS) and large bandwidth (5-60Mbps) for data links up to 60 km and beyond. In practice, data transfer speeds can be much greater and data links can be effective up to 100kms+ on the COMET, depending on the environment. The system is simple, intuitive, and easy to set up. Critically, it is also satellite independent and can work in a GPS/GNSS denied environment (including polar regions) making it ideal for use during Peer-on-Peer conflict and when Multi Domain Integration is required. That said, although Troposcatter COMET terminals are quick and easy to set up (15 minutes) until now, they did still need to be static.


Recognising the need for increased manoeuvre and network data on the move, Spectra in conjunction with COMTECH and BATS have been conducting trials of a Troposcatter On The Move (TOTM) capability utilising a High-Performance antenna that has been integrated in to the COMET system to provide for example; Ship to Shore and Ship to Ship communications. The solid-state and compact BATS antenna is ideal for highly mobile environments, where only minimal space is available, such as on a vehicle or maritime vessel. Extensive trials have been carried out and have proven highly reliable and successful where sea trials have achieved data rates of 175Mbps on a moving platform at ranges of 50km and sea trials achieved between 6-7Mbps at ranges of 100 km.

Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra Group said: “We pride ourselves at Spectra Group on meeting the needs of regular and specialist forces in the ever-evolving battlespace. For the last 10 years SlingShot has remained a reliable and cost-effective enhancement to existing tactical radios converting them to highly flexible global strategic communications assets, and the latest advancements in Troposcatter technology bring reliable and secure big data networks to deployed headquarters and down to company level, in both the static and mobile environments.”