May 10, 2024

Honoring History: Reflections of Waterloo Defence Technology Day 2024

Defence Technology Day 2024

By Gloria Kinney, Director of Product Marketing, ST Engineering iDirect

If there was ever a more fitting backdrop for a defence technology event, it was the Waterloo 1815 Memorial, Belgium. Located on the site of the battle of Waterloo, it is a monument that represents the past, present and future of defence and underlines how the nature of threats may have changed but the reasons behind them are very much the same. It was in this prestigious location that we held our bi-annual iDirect Defence Technology Day on April 23.

We welcomed a total of around 170 attendees, a 67% increase on our 2022 Brussels event, and the demographic represented a diverse mix of delegates from MODs and end users to network operators, service providers and technology partners. The day was expertly hosted by the Master of Ceremonies, Emma Park, ST Engineering iDirect’s SVP of Growth and Strategy.

Security & Resilience Top of Mind

Defence Technology Day 2024Satellite technology has always been an essential part of any defence agency toolkit given its flexibility and the fact that it can be deployed anywhere. As we know, satellite networks are becoming increasingly complex and so are the vulnerabilities and threats that they are exposed to. More network components mean more potential points of weakness and that’s why it’s critical that satcom users build in multiple layers of security and resilience to create a robust network that is resistant to threats and can mitigate the result of any potential attack.

Today, satellite capabilities are poised to form a key part of the telecommunications landscape. Advancements in technology are bringing forth new, multi-orbit capabilities and highly flexible, software defined payloads where lower latency, high throughput and massive capacity is easily accessible. Governments are taking note and wish to provide secure, resilient, integrated solutions to their militaries. These themes formed a key part of the day’s discussions.

The Best of Innovation on Show

Defence Technology Day 2024

We were thrilled to see so many partners displaying their innovative technologies as exhibits. In total, there were 18 exhibitor demos, both indoors and outdoors, from cutting edge terminals and advanced software solutions to revolutionary drone technology. Demonstrations ran for the entire duration of the event, enabling end users to experience the innovation for themselves.

It was both enlightening and encouraging to see so many partners coming together and we hope that the day also served as an important networking event that encouraged further collaboration.

Technology Proof Points

It’s always important to see how technological innovation works in the real world and we were grateful to hear some incredible case studies that are testimonials to the innovative solution provided by the satellite sector.

Peder Kristensen, Electronic Engineer from Danish Defence, presented a use case on Evolution Defense. This was later followed by Dave Nicoll, Group Business Development Manager at Milexia who delivered a case study on the Morocco Earthquake response which held up a great example of collaboration between UK International Search and Rescue (ISAR), Milexia, Intelsat, Holkirk Communications, and ST Engineering iDirect.

Steven Kennington, Business Development Manager, Paradigm rounded off the real-life experiences with a presentation that discussed challenges faced in real-world situations when using the world’s most advanced, quick-deploy satcom.

Insightful Sessions

The event conference featured a total of nine conference sessions and two panel discussions that covered a wide range of topics including MILSATCOM program updates and defence technology innovations.

The sessions were kicked off by Richard Davis, Program Director of SKYNET 6. He provided key insights into the future vision of the SKYNET 6 program and the intent to “establish a closer partnership with industry to access its agility, embedded skills, intelligence and interactions with the wider market”. Jan Ramboer, Project Manager for the European Defence Fund, European Commission also discussed the opportunities for defence collaborative R&D in the space domain.

Updates from the Hosts

The event gave the iDirect team the opportunity to provide updates on product advancements including an overview of Evolution Defense from Dave Davis, Senior Technical Director of Global Government, who updated the audience on the latest security and resiliency features of the Evolution Defense 4.6 software release including Communication Signal Interference Removal (CSIR), of which there was a live demo. Dave also provided the latest on the new 450mp SDR modem which features multi-orbit and multi-waveform capabilities.

Koen Willems, VP EU Programs and Government Relations, also presented on the cloudification and digitalization journey from the gateway to the modem to the edge.

Brian Stalker, Director TechOps, Global Services & Solutions, ST Engineering iDirect provided an overview of the Technology Operations (TechOps) as a managed service which simplifies the customer technology journey.

Finally, Rajesh Suseelan, Sr. Director Business Development at ST Engineering iDirect provided an overview of the Resilient Integrated Solutions portfolio highlighting the importance of partnerships to provide the best-in-class solutions.

Enlightening Discussions

Defence Technology Day 2024Two panel discussions provided plenty of food for thought. The first, moderated by Jo De Loor, VP Market Development & Strategy, ST Engineering iDirect focused upon how commercial multi-orbit capacity can augment military satellites delivering hybrid resilient networks and featured both operators and service providers.

The second, moderated by Dave Davis, discussed how technology solutions providers define the end user needs and make sure they are met, especially as we see an increasing use of multi-orbit capabilities.

We’d like to thank all of our participants – speakers, exhibitors and attendees – for making this the most memorable Defence Technology Day yet!

Watch our Defence Technology Day highlights video for a visual recap!