16 September 2021 – A £110 million contract has been awarded to deliver the new Defence Strategic Radio Service (DSRS) to critical military operations.
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 be able to communicate more effectively and quickly in notoriously challenging terrain, such as built-up cities, mountains and jungles.
Awarded to Babcock International Group, the nine-year contract will support around 150 jobs across England, Scotland and three of the UK’s Overseas Bases.
Babcock Chief Executive David Lockwood said:
“Babcock is delighted to be awarded the new Defence Strategic Radio Service contract which builds on our extensive experience and knowledge in this field. 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.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“This multi-million-pound investment in frontline radio communications will provide our Armed Forces with cutting-edge technology that allows them to connect effectively across a range of challenging environments.
“Underpinned by commitments outlined in the Defence Command Paper, industry expertise will be at the core of developing this innovative capability whilst supporting more than 150 jobs in the process.”
Outlined in the recent Defence Command Paper, the MOD is committed to ensuring that innovation and investment are at the forefront of the Armed Forces giving them a cutting-edge advantage whenever and wherever they are deployed. This is further enhanced by the £24 billion increase in Defence spending over the next four years, as announced by the Prime Minister last year.
Commander of Strategic Command General Sir Patrick Sanders said:
“It is vital we have a range of robust communications options available to us, including satellite, internet and high frequency, to offer Commanders and decision-makers in the field the information they need at the speed of relevance.
“As we see a continued rise in threats to our security in the cyber and electromagnetic domain, our network resilience is what will give us the competitive edge against our adversaries.”
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.
Photo courtesy Babcock