HMAS Canberra’s communications capabilities have been bolstered following a two-month-long upgrade.
EM Solutions prepared and commissioned its locally designed and built Cobra Tri-Band Inmarsat GX and WGS X/Ka-band Satellite Communications Terminal on the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship, HMAS Canberra. Installation was undertaken in concert with several other partners.
The upgrade, which forms part of EM Solutions’ broader support for the RAN under multiple programs including Sea1445 and Sea1180, aims to increase deployed bandwidth availability, enhancing crew conditions and Quality of Life functions while at sea.
The bolstered SATCOM capability is expected to improve digital connectivity by supporting voice, video, social media, internet access and personal communications to enable both the permanent and embarked forces to stay connected.
This is the first time that the EM Solutions tri-band Cobra terminal has been deployed in dual antenna configuration, using a new Antenna Diversity System, whose design was recently completed by the company in conjunction with RAN Engineers. The system provides antenna diversity when one antenna is blocked because of the ship’s infrastructure, or allows dual communications streams or even use of two separate satellites when both have visibility.
The entire project, which was completed in eight weeks, allowed HMAS Canberra to fully participate in recent trials.
“Our ability to work remotely under COVID conditions, and test and commission a dual-headed system with novel arbitration technology for the first time, shows how the rapid support and capability of local firms can make a huge difference, ” EM Solutions CEO Dr Rowan Gilmore said.
“This rapid commissioning attests to the capability of even medium-sized firms like EM Solutions to provide immediate sovereign design, manufacturing, and increasingly, sustainment activity to the benefit of the ADF.”
The EM Solutions Cobra terminal was first developed under the Capability Technology Demonstrator Program, and is now in use by six of the world’s navies across four continents. In Australia, Cobra satcom systems are now on use in the Cape Class, Anzacs, LHDs, and AOR Class ships and are awaiting installation on the first of the new OPVs. The Cobra terminal is unique in providing multi-band access on both WGS and commercial satellite systems.