A £110 million (A$208) contract has been awarded to Babcock International Group to deliver the new Defence Strategic Radio Service (DSRS) to critical military operations.
The nine-year contract will reportedly support around 150 jobs across England, Scotland and three of the UK’s Overseas Bases.
DSRS uses the Earth’s ionosphere, part of the upper atmosphere, to allow radio signals to be sent and received across thousands of kilometers. This allows communications to be rapidly delivered across a variety of domains to service personnel, regardless of whether they are on land, in the air or at sea.
The new communications service removes the traditional requirement for direct-line-of-sight between the transmitter and user. Members of the Armed Forces will reportedly be able to communicate more effectively and quickly in challenging terrain, such as built-up cities, mountains and jungles.
“Babcock is delighted to be awarded the new Defence Strategic Radio Service contract which builds on our extensive experience and knowledge in this field," Babcock Chief Executive David Lockwood said. "In collaboration with both our partners and customer we will work together to deliver a secure, resilient and advanced solution that will ensure DSRS users receive assured services, in support of the critical operations they perform, that are fit for today and ready for tomorrow.
“We are proud to continue our drive to ensure that high frequency (HF) skills and capabilities are maintained in the UK, both now and into the future, through our unique HF Communications BTEC apprenticeship programme.”
Babcock says the new system will also be critical for flight safety communications to all military aircraft while also supporting the ‘mayday’ fallback facility for the wider UK aviation community.
While used by the UK Armed Forces, the radio system will also support civilian tasks when required, including mountain rescue and civilian aircraft emergency communications.
DSRS works across all single Service capabilities and can be integrated with communication systems of global allies, improving the UK’s ability to command and control its forces worldwide.