Offering proven data transmission up to 350km, the Vaisala RS41-SGM radiosonde is the first designed specifically for the military from the outset, Jorma Kosonen, Application Manager Defence told Mönch at Future Forces Forum in Prague this week.
One of the unique features of the unit is its ‘radio silent’ mode, Kosonen explained. The unit can shut down all emissions for a specific pre-programmed period after launch, only turning its transmission capability on when the risk of revealing the launch location has been significantly reduced. The radiosonde then transmits at double normal rates to clear the buffer.
A further feature that makes the new radiosonde far more attractive to the military is the provision of full data encryption capabilities. It may seem to be ‘gilding the lily’ to encrypt weather and meterorological data, but the elimination of another channel via which some form of electronic attack might be launched is worth the effort to military planners, it would seem.
The military market currently accounts for 10-20% of Vaisala’s revenues, according to Kosonen. It is worth remembering that artillery – the biggest military user of accurate meterorological data – has been in decline since the end of the Cold War. As the threat envelope continues to transform, however, and the possible prospect of needing to prepare for possible conventional conflict continues to develop, that situation might change.