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Eurosatory 2018: Demand for Fibre Optics in the Military Domain Grows

Defence users are to integrate fibre-optic components and systems for faster and more secure communication for a broad range of static and dynamic application

Today, the military is in a combat environment that is almost totally reliant on optical fibre technology, as with it, the user is reaching incredible speeds in data distribution and sharing while benefiting from greater bandwidth, low latency, reduced detectability, and enhanced security. This process, as industry expects, will affect C4I and EW in particular. Both segments will ascend as one of the premier markets in the upcoming 10 years.

The footprint of HUBER+SUHNER, headquartered in Pfäffikon, Switzerland, is set to grow, as the demand of optical fibre technology in military platforms around the globe still is increasing at a significant pace. The Swiss manufacturer, with several production and service sites around the globe, ranks among the leading international manufacturer for the design and production of RF and microwave components, fibre optics, and low frequency products. The company’s “RF-over-Fibre” technology is set to offer the broadest spectrum of military applications, including manned/unmanned aircraft, guided missiles, SATCOM, naval ships (including submerged platforms), and aircraft-carried towed decoy systems. Replacing point-to-point systems with fibre-optic networks would decrease the number of cable and consequently the number of connectors, transmitters, receivers, and other components required to sustain digital communication suites on surface and subsurface combatants, as well as aircraft.

The same is with is with ground combat vehicles for which HUBER+SUHNER provides its RF-over-Fibre technology for integrated communications systems. The use of such a high throughput and low-latency medium is a cost-effective way for future system expansion. This reduction in costs would be a significant plus in today’s cost-conscious military.

RF-over-Fibre is also the “code” word of large-scale MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) programmes affecting complete fleets of combat vehicles, where older equipment is replaced with the new technology. In sum, fewer components and lesser cable and connection requirements will increase platform survivability. HUBER+SUHNER says that it expects rapid growth in the field of MRO during the next 10 to 12 years, predominantly in the Asia-Pacific region and parts of Europe and the Middle East. While the big programmes attract the most attention, the smaller and less ambitious programmes continue to grow.

Stefan Nitschke


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