Spectra Group (UK) awarded 2019 Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation
Last week, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, The Dowager Countess Darnley, presented Spectra Group (UK) with the highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The ceremony took place at Spectra’s headquarters and was attended by Major Patrick Darling, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire;; Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council; Sharon Smith, CEO, H&W Chamber of Commerce; Mark Armitage, Senior Director of International Trade, H&W Chamber of Commerce; as well as Members of UK MOD and a host of proud Spectra staff.
The Queen’s Award is highly contested and is a noteworthy recognition of the outstanding commercial success that Spectra has achieved with their revolutionary device, SlingShot®. Along with the commemorative trophy, Spectra were presented with the official Grant of Appointment, given permission to use the Queen’s Award emblem and to fly The Queen’s Award flag at their main office.
SlingShot is a lightweight device that delivers game-changing capabilities to existing military and civilian radio networks. When connected to military or commercial UHF/VHF radios, Slingshot extends their range from under 50 miles to potentially 1000s of miles by utilising the commercial satellite network. The system works by simply converting standard radio signals to the frequency used by commercial satellites and is the only product of its type to enable beyond line-of-sight voice and data communications whilst the user is on the move. It also enables interoperability between agencies using different radio systems, without degradation by environmental factors such as weather, terrain and vegetation, delivering increased safety and security with improved flexibility and effectiveness.
Spectra’s innovation stemmed from a realisation in 2012 that there was a previously unutilised capability of the Inmarsat geostationary satellite network that would have huge potential in both military and commercial sectors. Within a year of working closely with Inmarsat, a working concept was developed and approved for use by the British military; versatile enough to be used in aircraft, vehicles, maritime platforms and by individuals on the ground. Spectra has since gone on to successfully market SlingShot internationally for military and non-military use, such as emergency services and disaster-relief, with a capability that has proved to be of critical importance and has undoubtedly contributed to the saving of lives.
Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra Group said: “I am extremely proud of what the staff at Spectra have achieved. This award is the greatest validation of our work; it’s a huge recognition and a ‘thank you’ to my team who have worked tirelessly to develop and produce our remarkable SlingShot technology”. He added, “Working on the design and building a business that supplies a product with the ability to revolutionise communications globally, not only for soldiers but also emergency services and disaster-relief agencies, is immensely satisfying. As a former soldier in the Royal Corps of Signals and knowing that lives are being saved is incredibly motivating for me and my team.”
Produced by Spectra Group in the UK and distributed via several trusted partners in the US, as well as Spectra Group (US) Inc, SlingShot extends the range of standard VHF and UHF radios to beyond line of sight (BLOS), over 1000s of miles, using Inmarsat’s L-TAC service (COMSATCOM). With options that work on any platform, including helicopters, the Manpack version of SlingShot weighs less than 2lbs, including the antenna. Because it is so small, lightweight and with low power requirements, US SOCOM has been using SlingShot in remote operations where there may be no existing communications infrastructure and where troops are required to communicate over extreme distances with their Command HQ. SlingShot provides added flexibility over TACSAT, in that it works on the move using small omni-directional antennas, unifying platforms in complex asymmetric operations. Another reason for SlingShot’s success is its delivery of a unified radio net for interoperability, as successfully tested at AEWE 2019. By linking radios of different native frequencies to a single L-Band net Beyond Line of Sight, SlingShot greatly improves C2 communications when working with coalition partners and other agencies.
In Oct 2018, following contract successes in North America, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd established new offices in Fairfax County with Spectra Group (US) Inc. Spectra Group’s permanent presence in the USA enables closer support for existing partners in North America, as well as dedicated product and service support directly to the end-user.
Simon Davies, CEO at Spectra Group (UK) Ltd said: “We are receiving significant interest in our products and services across North America as well as from around the globe, so our attendance at AUSA 2019 will be another fantastic opportunity to meet customers old and new. Our team will be on hand throughout the exhibition and will be available to discuss your requirements. So please do make contact by visiting us at Booth 4013”.