Thales has demonstrated the utility of its SYNAPS family of software-defined radios (SDR) to the Spanish armed forces, the MoD and DGAM – the defence procurement agency. The apparent intent is to show SYNAPS’ potential to provide state-of-the-art radio communications for the DRAGÓN 8x8 AFV programme and for the Joint Tactical Radio System (SCRT) programme.
The new SYNAPS SDR family offers a set of unique features that address current and future military requirements, providing information superiority through communities of interest – a leap forward in digital transformation and an opportunity for industrial technological development. The result is to provide the armed forces with operational superiority and to enable international interoperability, as well as continuity and evolution of the family throughout its life cycle. It will also enable optimal use of the radio spectrum and the exchange of secure critical data among all actors.
In addition, the SYNAPS family will provide logistical superiority to the armed forces: fewer radios required equates to a reduction in consumption, weight and number of antennas per vehicle and improving the logistics footprint – all of which translates to a clear reduction in maintenance costs. As they are fully compatible with the PR4G radios currently used by the Spanish armed forces, SYNAPS radios could be immediately deployed in a smooth transition, with no technical or schedule risk. SYNAPS could be gradually phased in without jeopardising operational readiness, allowing a controlled, optimised step-by-step modernisation of the entire radio inventory.
As far as the DRAGÓN programme is concerned, Thales has also demonstrated potential improvements to the vehicle’s C2 system in collaboration with Indra, for which early results are encouraging.
The Thales offer also includes a detailed Industrial Cooperation Plan for Spain, designed to facilitate high added value technology development to maintain national sovereignty in tactical communications and to facilitate exports. The Group employs over 1,400 staff in Spain: it has based its defence, aeronautics and security activities at the Leganés site near Madrid, with a dedicated radio production and maintenance centre. Basque company Manufacturas Zeta has also been entrusted with production of various SYNAPS components – for the SYNAPS-H (handheld) and SYNAPS-T and -V (vehicular) variants. This collaboration is a sign of Thales’ long-established confidence in Spanish SMEs, facilitating development of national technological capability and international cooperation.