May 29, 2017

Jam Tomorrow And Jam Yesterday – But Never Jam Today?

Dave DavisBy Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, VT iDirect

There is definitely a feel of summer in the air of London. And this week, where better to enjoy the London sun, than the North bank of the river Thames? Savoy Place has been the home of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and its forebears since 1909. The building is steeped in history, with famous names of engineering legends all around you everywhere you turn. If you look closely you’ll notice a discreet plaque on the wall outside; this was also once home of the British Broadcasting Company, before it got too big to be a tenant and had to find its own space to fill. Just looking at the past Presidents in the foyer, some names leap out; Siemens, Swan, Kelvin, Ferranti and Fleming. From the guardian outside, the statue of Michael Faraday, to the modern roof terrace with views to die for, the recent £30M makeover has made IET Savoy Place a flagship building to be proud of.

Savoy Place is host to IET MilSatcom 2017, which is expanded this year to a two-day event. The first day is a series of workshops, aimed at an open forum to discuss threats and countermeasures, digital security and managing MilSatcom. It is hoped that these workshops will provide an interactive platform for all attendees and presenters to learn from each other. I will be leading the threats and countermeasures workshop alongside Sqn Ldr Van Halteren and am really looking forward to it; we’ll be talking about jamming, locating, interception, etc. as you’d expect, but we’re also trying to pull out some of the other “softer” threats that may not be quite so obvious on first inspection.

The second day is a really good blend of presentations from solo presenters, double acts and panel discussions, involving commercial and military experts in the field. We will also learn about a range of sectors within the industry; the defence view, the commercial/sovereign mix, the need for throughput, the balance between the frequencies, the use of Global Xpress and L-Band, building satellites, welfare provision, border security and the future of MilSatcom. All in all it promises to be an outstanding couple of days.

Dave-Davis-BFBS-InterviewOne of the big themes will no doubt be the ever-growing blend of commercial, government and military satellite communications. The iDirect portfolio matches this blend perfectly with out and out commercial products alongside the leading defence satellite products. The 9350 is proving to be a big hit with defence users, but because of its capabilities, it’s also found a niche in the superyacht market. It goes to show that the adoption of commercial or military technology moves both ways, it isn’t exclusive to the military adopting commercial technology. The 950mp is going from strength to strength in the manpack world and alongside the 9350 and 900 it will be taking a step up into the High Throughput Satellite market with iDirect Velocity® support coming soon. Exciting times. And speaking of exciting, the all new Tactical Hub, the 11000 series, is now a reality and it’s looking amazing. Powered by the DLC-T and DLC-R line cards, the 11000 series is a product that can really punch above its weight.

My tips for IET MilSatcom is to come early and look around the building. On the 2nd floor there is a display of 100 objects that changed the world and the staircases on either side of the building host an impressive array of engineers, past, present and future that have shaped and will continue to shape the world we live in. Well worth a look.

Also, if you are new to London, leave a little time to explore; I would recommend the new exhibition at the British Science Museum, Robots, which is an exploration on the world of robotics, the history, current capability and the future.