The line between security and susceptibility is becoming ever so thin with the ever-expanding Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and drone-filled sky. Particularly, as these aerial systems get smaller, stealthier, and more sophisticated, the imperative is shifting from deploying countermeasures to becoming proactive in tactical electronic warfare.
Jackson White, Business Development Director of Tactical Data Links and VP of Marketing at SPX CommTech, paints a vivid picture. “Consider drones zipping through the air at 125 mph. That’s nearly twice as fast as they used to. We need to detect them when they’re five to six kilometres away, if not further, to act in time.”
SPX CommTech—an SPX Technologies [NYSE:SPXC] platform—is leading the charge in this strategic shift.
With its deep expertise in specialized radio frequency (RF) technologies, the platform is equipping civilian, law enforcement, emergency and defense sectors in their quest to proactively detect, pursue, and neutralize malicious UAS and drones.
This mission has been strengthened by SPX Communication Technologies’ acquisition of Enterprise Control Systems (ECS) and TCI, resulting in a formidable force in radio frequency (RF) technology solutions. By combining ECS’s specialization in RF jamming and tactical data links with TCI’s background in Communications Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and spectrum regulation, the unified entity—SPX CommTech—offers an unparalleled array of services. This includes Communications Intelligence (COMINT), Counter-UAS technologies, tactical data links and RF spectrum management.
White sheds light on what sets his company apart in the market. “We’re bringing together the best of both worlds. The same brilliant minds behind our top-notch, military-grade data links are also skilled at spotting and disarming the communication networks. It’s not something you see every day in our field, and that’s what makes our company rare.”
For military strategists and defense industry professionals, the implications of this broad expertise are profound. It signals a new era in RF technology, where integrated systems and collaborative expertise pave the way for enhanced situational awareness, rapid response capabilities, and a robust shield against the evolving landscape of unmanned threats. More resilient and adaptable defense mechanisms are not a distant dream but made a reality with SPX CommTech’s combined capabilities.
That said, SPX CommTech’s operational philosophy is deeply rooted in embracing diversity. Two key aspects of this consideration are the complex matrix of communication links intrinsic to UAS technologies, and the different contexts in which these might be used—frontline combat, air defense, or facility protection. Each scenario demands a bespoke approach.
Even the concept of a ‘successful defeat’ of a drone varies with changing scenarios. For some, it may mean completely disabling a drone, while for others, it could involve compelling the UAS to withdraw. SPX CommTech conducts thorough assessments of these scenarios and collaborates with industry-leading partners to develop solutions perfectly aligned to customer needs.
SPX CommTech’s flagship offering, BLACKTALON 2, epitomizes this versatility. This scalable Counter-UAS system is designed to integrate additional passive and active sensors, optics, and an array of third-party sensors, all coordinated through a central command and control hub. This lets SPX CommTech seamlessly deliver a tailored solution for detecting, classifying, and neutralizing unmanned threats, offering a customized security posture for various operational environments.
Many Eastern European customers recently turned to SPX CommTech for specialised solutions amidst growing national security concerns. While the objective remains consistent—to detect and neutralise unmanned aerial threats—the specifics of what constitutes a ‘successful defeat’ differ. SPX CommTech took a consultative stance to align technology choices with each client’s unique requirements.
As the modern battlespace evolves, SPX CommTech aims to push the boundaries of its sensing and inhibition technologies even further by effectively countering drone threats from greater distances. Nurturing this growth is the company’s collaborative management style that values humility and inclusivity to give all team members a voice and access to leadership. This approach keeps SPX CommTech, an innovative powerhouse it is, moving like clockwork.
(Article published on p24 of Aerospace & Defense Review, Dec ’23 Edition).