QinetiQ has integrated a civil satellite communications system into a number of MOD Joint Helicopter Force (JHC) assets, as part of an in-theatre Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) programme. The requirement was to deliver beyond line of sight (BLOS) voice communications capabilities that allow deployed JHC assets to simply and efficiently communicate with operational headquarters.
In just 8-12 weeks (depending on the platform) QinetiQ, working closely with the Identification and Communication Equipment (ICE) Integrated Project Team (IPT), went from the initial meeting to delivering this operational solution. The various stages included the initial feasibility study, investigating technical options, then recommending and deploying the optimum BLOS technology to meet the capability enhancement requirements, across the identified aircraft variants.
“Through this UOR QinetiQ has demonstrated its capability in working with customers and stakeholders to quickly provide solutions to real problems that are affecting UK forces’ operational performance,” stated Andrew Sleigh, MD of QinetiQ’s defence business. “The programme was accomplished in an exceptionally short timescale, due in the main to the commitment of staff and the streamlined and cooperative approach of the stakeholders. This solution is now in-service delivering vital capability to the front-line user community.”
Initial feedback from operational units using this capability show that they are extremely pleased with the results and a comment from one operational flight commander reads: “Without doubt, this has been one of the best advances for some time in helping us to get the job done.”
The programme brought together QinetiQ’s Malvern based comms design teams and engineers staff with its system evaluation services / flight engineering services personnel based at Boscombe Down. Together they surveyed the aircraft, evaluated the current capabilities and roles of the platforms plus looked at the various commercially available systems available. This study determined that the maximum value would be realised by using a civil satcom based solution as it best met user requirements and this was then integrated onto the aircraft.
QinetiQ was also tasked to develop and deliver a ground based system, based on the same satcom technology, to provide in-theatre end-to-end connectivity. The design and build of these units, including sourcing all ancillary components was undertaken by QinetiQ. Operator training and user documentation was also provided for the complete solution.