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Software-defined radios (SDR) of the SOVERON family, provided by Rohde & Schwarz for the A400M fleets currently in service, are allowing operators to maximise use of their platforms.

The Munich-based communications specialist is the only provider of military airborne radios that also meet the certification requirements of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA): military aircraft can only be certified and operated without restrictions – thus ensuring their flexibility, utility and reliability for operators – when they meet the certification requirements of both civil and military aviation authorities.

Rohde & Schwarz is the provider of communications equipment for the A400M, with each aircraft carrying four M3AR VHF/UHF airborne transceivers for the MR6000A SDR. The M3AR uses state-of-the-art communications methods that have been standardised throughout NATO, including the fast frequency-hopping Second Generation of Anti-Jam Tactical UHF Radio for NATO (SATURN) technique, as well as embedded NATO cryptology. The MR6000A has been SECAN- and BSI-certified to allow secure communications up to NATO Secret level. The transceivers can implement important mission-essential functions through software downloads, thus ensuring, for example, that the A400M can be used in international airspace under network-centric warfare conditions. Almost 8,000 SDR from the M3AR family are in use worldwide, on over 70 different airborne platforms.

As a member of the SOVERON family, the MR6000A covers a frequency range of 30-400 MHz. Its high transmit power – 20W in AM and 30W in FM modes – ensures long range, even in poor weather conditions or when flying at low levels. The extremely robust transceiver is accommodated in an ARINC 600 housing and offers outstanding RF characteristics, such as high sensitivity and large-signal immunity. The MR6000A is decidedly immune to radiated interference (e.g. from powerful broadcast transmitters or radar equipment) and to cosmic radiation. It contains filters to suppress shortwave and VHF interference as well as interfering signals in the same frequency band (co-site operation).

Now in service with Belgium, France, Germany, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey and the UK, the A400M provides paratrooper deployment, transport and air-to-air refueling capabilities. On 1 July, OCCAR announced it has signed a new performance-based support contract, creating a new partnership framework, based on pooling and sharing, in which industry and operators have the opportunity to explore new areas of collaboration, concepts, and services.

Rohde & Schwarz is the communications supplier for the A400M aircraft with its MR6000A SDR of the SOVERON family. (Photo: Rohde & Schwarz)

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