October 19, 2022

Defence Tech Day 2022: Historic Setting, Future Innovation

Defence Tech Day 2022

ST Engineering iDirect hosted its 2022 European Defence Technology Day in the Aviation Hall at the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in Brussels on Wednesday, October 12.

The event brought together over 100 attendees for a full day of informative sessions, the opportunity to check out the latest terminals and solutions from our key technology partners and to network with fellow defence and government industry colleagues. The historical setting, which featured aircraft dating back to the early 20th century, provided a true contrast with the discussion of the latest technology innovations and capabilities for MILSATCOM networks. It put into perspective the rapid pace of satcom innovation from space to ground and the tremendous opportunity it presents to militaries to increase situational awareness and gain the tactical advantage.

Overseen by our master of ceremonies and General Manager Belgium, Stéphanie Tack, the stage was set for some insightful presentations by an impressive line-up of industry leaders.

Lived Experience

Defence Tech Day 2022The very best way to gain an understanding of the requirements of military users is to hear direct from military leaders themselves. It is their lived experience that the industry must learn from in order to develop the technology required to enable them to operate more effectively. Lieutenant General Frédéric Goetynck, National Armament Director (NAD), and Major Nicolas Gérôme, Head of Space Office, both from the Belgian Ministry of Defence, kicked off proceedings. They discussed the importance of Building Resiliency in Space in a safe, secure, and sustainable environment in order to leverage space-based services and capabilities.

Euroconsult’s CEO, Pacome Revillon then took the pulse of the industry with a presentation on State of the Industry: Satellite Connectivity in Motion. He looked deeper into building scale with network innovations such as software-defined, multi-orbit, and 5G integration; the consolidation trend of the space ecosystem, and the implications for military. This included the increase of satcom adoption by all forces, the modernization of legacy MILSATCOM equipment, increasing use of autonomous assets, and the capacity procurement by managed services.

The team from ST Engineering iDirect then took the audience through key thought leadership themes that are driving our Government and Defence strategy. Frederik Simoens, our CTO, delivered an overview on New Ground for Defence which explored the total ecosystem convergence with New Ground as a central driver, the cloudification of ground infrastructure, and the stages towards building a next-generation network.

Our Head of Global Government Strategy, Koen Willems, then delved further into the growing complexity of networks and increased security threats demanding an integrated Multi-Layered Security and Resiliency approach for seamless operations and information assurance.

ST Engineering’s VP of Corporate Synergies, Sjoerd De Clerk, shared our Extended Ground Segment Portfolio including defence terminal satcom solutions, unified communications systems, and cybersecurity solutions.

The European Perspective

To give insight into the European defence perspective, the audience was addressed by Holger Lueschow, Programme Manager Satellite Communication, at the European Defence Agency (EDA). He gave an overview of key initiatives in Space in EU Defence. He was followed by Marco Detratti, Programme Manager, Defense Industry and Space, at the European Commission who shared information on The European Defence Fund and opportunities for defence collaborative research and development in the space domain.

Up for Discussion

Our two panel sessions brought lively discussion and enabled our partners to bring their own perspectives forward. First, our Integrator Panel, moderated by our Technical Director, Dave Davis, discussed the Challenges & Considerations of the Next-Gen VSAT Terminal.

Next, our Managed Services Panel, moderated by Tim Winter, VP Global Accounts and Global Government, discussed Navigating the Challenges of Managed Services.

Defence Tech Day Integrator PanelDefence Tech Day Managed Services Panel

The afternoon was wrapped up with three engaging presentations. Microsoft’s (with whom we just performed a Proof of Concept demo virtualizing high-speed demodulators operating in an Azure cloud environment) Bram Couwberghs, Defence & Intelligence Leader Western Europe, and Dave De Bie, Strategic Technology Lead for NATO Alliance, shared how to Deliver a Trusted and Secure Digital Backbone by delivering hyperscale cloud, distributing cloud capabilities to the tactical edge, embracing 5G and space connectivity, and defending against security threats.

Ben Massey, Head of Military & Government at Eclipse Global Connectivity, then presented the operational benefits of SATCOM for Airborne ISR and how to define the “right” solution when implementing a new capability.

Finally, Raul Castromil, Director of Satellite Department at AICOX Soluciones, shared a compelling case study on an MoD customer’s Transition from SCPC to TDMA.

Showcase of Leading Terminals and Technology Solutions

We were delighted to see so many of our industry leading partners participating in our exhibition. They included: ALL.SPACE, Cobham, GRC, Eclipse Global Connectivity, Integrasys, Kymeta, Milexia and Paradigm. Our delegates were able to get up close and personal with the technology and to ask questions of our technology partners.

We’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all who attended and participated, especially to our esteemed speakers and exhibiting partners!

Check out our latest whitepapers on New Ground for Modern MILSATCOM Networks and Staying Ahead of the Changing Security Threat Landscape.

Register here for our upcoming webinar, Staying Ahead of the Changing Security Threat Landscape on November 21 at 09.30 ET.

If you’d like to know more about the products and services discussed during the Defence Technology Day, please contact your sales representative.