Bittium, Leonardo, and Thales, along with the Finnish Defence Forces have demonstrated the capabilities and functionalities of the High Data Rate Waveform (HDRWF) developed in the European ESSOR programme (European Secure Software defined Radio) in battlefield conditions and with a 15 radio node configuration. The activity was carried out using three different radio platforms from the three participating ESSOR Companies to demonstrate how the land forces of different European countries can communicate seamlessly with each other in joint operations, linking up via a common waveform regardless of the radio platforms they use.
The capabilities of the waveform were showcased by operating different applications, such as Command and Control (C2), Situational Awareness, Video streaming, and VoIP (Voice over IP), in mobility, demonstrating the ad-hoc capability of the ESSOR HDRWF, with fast and robust network building and reforming.
The radio platforms used for the demonstration were the Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network (TAC WIN) system, the Leonardo SWave vehicular 4-channels SDR, and the Thales SYNAPS Software Definced Radio (SDR) vehicular platform. Thanks to this event, the maturity and stability of the ESSOR HDRWF for battlefield use was proven; this was the first time the ESSOR HDRWF was demonstrated with such an extensive radio configuration in battlefield conditions and operated by the Finnish Defence Forces, confirming its ability to provide interoperability communications and services among diverse coalition armed forces on the field.
“The successful demonstration indicated that the ESSOR HDR Waveform on its significant part redeems the expectations set for SDRs," Colonel Eero Valkola, Assistant Chief of Staff G6, Finnish Army, stated. "Now for the first time it was possible to validate with field demonstrations that radios from different manufacturers and countries can efficiently form a data communications network and offer the needed interoperability also for the needs of the land forces. Additionally, the waveform was proven to be just as capable as its specification has required it to be.”
The demonstration was part of the Finnish Defence Forces’ program for testing the national waveform implementation; the nations of Italy and France were invited to participate in order to further prove the interoperability results.
Bittium, Leonardo, and Thales had previously demonstrated part of the interoperability capabilities and the functionalities of the waveform at the Eurosatory defense exhibition in June 2016.
The aim of the ESSOR programme is to develop the European SDR technology in order to improve the capabilities for cooperation in coalition operations. The program was established under the umbrella of the European Defense Agency (EDA), sponsored by the governments of Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden, and it was awarded by the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement (OCCAR) to the dedicated joint venture Alliance for ESSOR (a4ESSOR S.A.S.) to be in charge of managing the industrial consortium. Besides Bittium, the other companies involved in the first phase of the ESSOR - which was successfully completed in 2015 - were Indra from Spain, Leonardo from Italy, Radmor from Poland, Saab from Sweden, and Thales from France. In addition to the European High Data Rate Waveform, the first phase of the program produced and validated the definition for the European Software Defined Radio Architecture which was ported and qualified on six different European platforms. The parties are currently negotiating the second phase of the program, which will add even more operational capabilities to the ESSOR system.
Leonardo SWAve SDR
Leonardo was one of the first companies in the world to invest in Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology, having developed the systems since early 2000. The company has also benefitted from its experience in a major Italian SDR programme, largely funded by the Italian Defence Forces, through the Italian defence procurement organization (SEGREDIFESA/DNA - The Secretariat General of Defence / National Armaments Directorate and its technical directorates), which saw the technology as key to fulfilling a wide range of demanding requirements. A road-map was created for SDR technology covering deployed soldiers, vehicular use, naval use and infrastructure applications. This has led to a complete range of products under the Swave family name, which includes handheld, man pack and vehicular tactical radio systems. These products host a wide range of waveform applications, covering all of a potential customer’s operational needs. Radio platforms used for the demonstration were the Leonardo SwaveTM vehicular 4 channels, able to host 4 active communications at the same time in a frequency range spanning from 2 MHz to 2 GHz, with an embedded power of 50 Watts per channel. This has allowed a seamless installation on the hosting vehicles, without any additional device or ancillary.
Thales SYNAPS SDR
Thales has launched SYNAPS, its new broadband tactical software-defined radio family for collaborative combat which will run the ESSOR HDRWF. The new radio communication systems are designed for international markets and all branches of the armed forces. SYNAPS radio communication systems provide commanders with information superiority, because of their unparalleled range performance, and offer the optimum combination of data rates, security and connectivity. SYNAPS is based on CONTACT, Europe's largest software radio programme, which is contracted by the French Defence Procurement and Technology Agency (DGA) and will equip the French armed forces from 2019.