The small Windhoek based company Sat-Com believes its wideband manpack size radio, called The Leopard, offers unique features suited especially to special forces. The radio in its various configurations was on display at the company's small stand at the DSEI show in London, where Sat-Com hopes to achieve traction in the global marketplace.
The Leopard is currently in service with the Namibian Defence Force and has undergone field trails in a number of countries.
The Leopard offers communications in the HF, VHF, and UHF bands, an unusual feature in a military radio. Military radios usually operate in one band as communication requirements are usually limited.
The US radio giant Harris has an HF radio, but will only cover up to 60 Mhz frequency, whereas The Leopard covers a frequency range up to 512 Mhz.
Sat-Com MD David Brown says that The Leopard is unique, as the multi-band features, in addition to One-Time-Pad (OTP) encryption are offered in a manpack size with a battery that can last up to two days.
Through the use of the South African designed Rapid M TC4 modem, the device is also capable of sending and transmitting data as well as digital voice, which prevents eavesdropping.
Sat-com began as a designer and manufacturer of equipment for the Namibian broadcasting industry. Its foray into military radios was sparked when the UK government held up a Namibian order of military radios due to Windhoek's sending troops to fight for Jospeh Kabila during the civil war in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The radios were later released by the UK, but the company had made headway with the radio and decided upon further development.
Brown believes that restricting military radios to one band is "old school thinking". A multiband radio permits, for example, a squad to communicate with other friendly forces on the ground near to its position, talk to a helicopter overhead, or send messages to a head-quarters hundreds of kilometres away on the high frequency band.
The company is 25% owned by management and a 75% stake is held by August 26, the Namibian state owned defence industry holding company.
This article was originally published on www.defenceweb.co.za