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The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has signed a contract with Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) for the company to equip 50 command vehicles (PUMA infantry fighting vehicles [IFV] and BOXER armored transport vehicles [ATV]) with the joint radio system of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), also known as SVFuA (an advance measure in the Mobile Tactical Communications [MoTaKo] programme for digitizing tactical communications within the Bundeswehr.

SVFuA operates on the principle of the software defined radio (SDR) and offers secure, trustworthy communications up to the classification level SECRET. R&S drew on its in-house cryptology development as a key national technology. Initially, 50 command vehicles will be equipped, with an option for more (the contract’s framework agreement allows theBundeswehr to order additional SVFuA systems within a seven-year timeframe). R&S will produce and deliver the first installment of the overall SVFuA system by 2020. 

"Equipping the first PUMA and BOXER command vehicles with SVFuA is an important first step toward MoTaKo," Harald Stein, President of BAAINBw, explains. "We are pleased that with R&S we have found a technologically-leading partner for this key modernisation project."

In 2009, R&S was given responsibility for the overall design and the overall system as well as for developing a prototype base unit and proving that it could be series produced. In 2016, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) confirmed that the requirements for certification at the classification level SECRET had been met. Certification in line with the internationally recognized Software Communications Architecture (SCA) standard for SDR radio systems was a prerequisite for customer acceptance. Since the radio system was developed in line with the SCA standard, it is possible to port current and future national and international waveforms onto the radio system as long as these waveforms also meet the requirements set out in the SCA standard.

"With the SVFuA system, the German Armed Forces lays the foundation for state-of-the-art, future-ready tactical communications," Hartmut Jäschke, Senior Vice President Market Segment Secure Communications Sales and Projects at R&S, says. "As a trusted German partner, Rohde & Schwarz fulfills all the customer's requirements for a scalable, reconfigurable, and future-proof overall system. The company has demonstrated the implementation of current third-party waveforms on the software defined radio while preserving intellectual property rights, satisfying today's requirements for interoperability with partners."

With the acquisition of the SVFuA, the Bundeswehr is taking the first step in modernising its tactical communications within the framework of the MoTaKo programme. To support these projects over the long-term, R&S decided to set up a joint venture with Rheinmetall for the purpose of submitting a tender as a general contractor. Both German companies offer a broad portfolio of trustworthy technology and years of experience in complex undertakings. The Bundeswehr are currently looking at two major procurement projects: MoTaKo and MoTIV (mobile tactical information network). Secure, up-to-date communications solutions play a crucial role in assuring effective command and control in combat operations. This project's total order volume is likely to be in the, “mid-ten-figure euro range,” according to industry officials with thousands of Bundeswehr vehicles alone earmarked for retrofitting.

MoTaKo and MoTIV will form the yet-to-be-designed digital command-and-control system. The keyword here is seamless data transfer.

Under the joint venture with R&S, Rheinmetall will be responsible for command systems, cross-functional operator interface, and complete vehicle-integration process, while the German communications company, for its part, will contribute its IP-based system solutions for secure communications.

 

Bundeswehr future joint radio system SVFuA and the latest generation software defined tactical radio, R&S SDTR, for use in vehicles and in semi-mobile platforms. (Photo: R&S)

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