Success Stories – D-Ta Systems Inc.

The Company

D‑TA Systems Inc. (D‑TA) is a Small to Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) located in Ottawa, Ontario incorporated in February 2007 to design, develop and market sensor processing systems for application in the defence, aerospace and wireless markets. D‑TA caters to the Electronic Warfare Systems and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance markets and produces solutions for airborne, ship borne and land‑based military requirements. D‑TA manufactures complete systems that process sensor inputs such as sonar, acoustic, radio and radar signals. It builds scalable, integrated systems for all functions related to sensor processing including signal capturing, converting, recording and playback processing of data. In the new world of electromagnetic warfare, the ability to control the electromagnetic spectrum used by satellites, radar, radios, drones and mobile or wireless devices is of utmost importance. D‑TA's products are an integral part of controlling the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Project

The objective of the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) project, Network Centric Advanced Sensor Processing Platforms Development, was to build on D‑TA's existing platforms by developing the next generation of sensor processing systems that would process sensor dates at a faster rate and over a larger bandwidth. The project involved research and development of products that convert high frequency analog signals from systems such as radio, radar, and sonar into digital data for computers which enables real‑time processing and display, and reduces the cost and deployment for complex systems.


With the completion of this project, D‑TA is the first company to introduce an integrated, configurable system for sensor processing based on high‑speed 10 Gigabit Ethernet Network technology for application in the military Electronic Warfare Systems and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance markets. This is a significant innovative improvement over the conventional industry approach of purchasing various system components which the end user then needs to integrate with proprietary hardware and software, requiring extensive software development, module assembly and testing which is time consuming, requires high‑level technical skills and is expensive. This will significantly simplify military sensor deployments and cut deployment time, cost and risk. The D‑TA products are also scalable and future‑proof systems that allow for upgrades to be incorporated at any time. The multi‑antenna (up to 16) tunable radio frequency system developed provides wider frequency coverage and larger bandwidth; the software/firmware developed allows for the record/playback of digital data at a greater capacity, and at higher speeds; and the 400 MHz system developed can handle sampling rates at 3.6 GHz or 4.0 GHz across a 500 MHz bandwidth. In addition, multiple units can be phase synchronized and thus the number of channels can be scaled up by simply adding more units.

Aircraft are often targeted by enemy guided missiles, which use radar to detect the aircraft. Aircraft therefore must constantly survey the entire spectrum to detect any radar and then determine whether it is friend or enemy. D‑TA's technology can be used to scan the spectrum, find the signal and determine exactly what part of the spectrum should be jammed while ensuring not to jam the military's own friendly communications; or find the enemy to target by using direction finder technology – all in real‑time. In such situations every second counts and accurate information is crucial. D‑TA's products provide information faster, over a broader range of spectrum and more accurately than any other vendor.

The SADI project has enabled D‑TA to be the first to market to provide a completely integrated and configurable system for sensor processing providing it a competitive advantage. The resulting products have increased D‑TA's visibility in the defence market and have enabled D‑TA to be a market leader for high speed long‑term sustained analog record playback capabilities which are vital for the defence industry. In a climate of declining defence budgets, D‑TA believes its new products which reduce deployment time, cost and risk, will be particularly appealing to the industry. D‑TA's revenues have been steadily increasing with sales in Canada, the United States, Europe, Israel, Japan, South Korea and India, and with the expected growth of the Electronics Warfare systems market, D‑TA anticipates its revenue to increase significantly going forward.

D‑TA has developed a strong collaborative relationship with Carleton University in Ottawa, through its involvement with the university's Advanced Sensor Processing Laboratory, and its engagement with faculty and graduate students from the Faculty of Engineering and Design. D‑TA provides financial and technical support to the laboratory which supports graduate research and facilitates advanced research in sensor processing for a number of applications including radio, radar, sonar, medical imaging and instruments and other areas of interest to the communication, defence and aerospace sectors. In addition to increasing research in this area, the lab helps develop skills in a discipline that has a serious shortage of skilled manpower, which benefits D‑TA and the industry as a whole.

D‑TA also engages Carleton University graduate co‑op students to work at their facilities providing students invaluable experience working on real‑life problems as part of their thesis work. The students benefit from D‑TA financial support, guidance, supervision and access to the company's facilities. To date, five students have received their Masters degrees in engineering working on topics of relevance to D‑TA, two of whom have been hired permanently by D‑TA. The collaborative relationship has been very successful and will continue into the future.

This project also resulted in an integration of D‑TA's supply chain while strengthening its existing relationships. The research and development for this project was undertaken in Canada, with Canadian‑based sub‑contractors. Ninety percent of D‑TA's vendors are located in Canada, with a significant amount going to local services such as assembly shops in Ottawa and Montreal. With anticipated company growth over the next few years, it is expected that this project will create spin‑offs and indirect jobs due to the need for subcontracting services in the fields of printed circuit board fabrication, assembly and fabricated components.

In Summary

The SADI project support has enabled D‑TA to develop new innovative products in a timely manner providing it a competitive advantage in the increasingly important and growing Electronic Warfare Systems market. In addition it has allowed D‑TA to strengthen its existing relationships with Carleton University and within its supply chain. Ultimately, the resulting products have increased D‑TA's visibility in the defence market and positioned it well to take advantage of growing opportunities.