SlingShot satellite communications for UK’s peacekeeping mission in Mali


The United Kingdom’s Operation Newcombe peacekeeping contingent in Mali has been making use of SlingShot satellite communications systems to stay connected.

Supplied by the UK’s Spectra Group in partnership with Inmarsat, the SlingShot system can be integrated with current in-service UHF and VHF tactical communications systems, effectively extending radio range from 30 km to 1000(+) km and delivering true Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) and Communications on the Move (COTM) on all platforms and in all conditions with one system.

Op Newcombe is the UK contribution to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and is in support of UK Defence Priority Outcome 3 – Enhance global security through persistent engagement and response to crises. Since October 2020, the United Kingdom has deployed a long-range reconnaissance task group, using the Supacat Jackal 2 reconnaissance vehicle, to provide detailed reconnaissance information to the UN mission, to enhance security for the Mali population and deter insurgent activity, Spectra Group said.

“SlingShot was developed for and is used by specialist forces globally and is operationally proven in conventional scenarios. As such, it is well suited to the demands of long-range reconnaissance in Mali, where personnel are deployed in remote locations,” the company said.

In addition to BLOS voice capability, SlingShot has sufficient bandwidth to carry data to support applications such as: Situational Awareness tools; GPS tracking; reporting and other data messaging without the need for a ground-based line-of-sight re-broadcasting architecture. SlingShot’s omnidirectional antennas provide manpack, land, sea and air platforms with real-time COTM, rather than having to be static, as experienced with traditional TACSAT systems.

Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra Group, said, “We are immensely proud that SlingShot is described by our users as a battle-winning capability, and in how successful it has been in solving the communications challenges faced by both specialist and regular forces. It is truly plug and play, converting any in-service tactical radio system into a BLOS and COTM satellite communications system, with minimal training, so that users can fully focus on the task in hand.”