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Expanding on an initial contract agreed in 2008, Rohde & Schwarz (R&S), Airbus and Naval Group have been awarded a contract to manage the Réseau IP de la Force Aéronavale étape 2.1 (RIFAN 2.1) programme for French naval forces. The contract covers services to maintain and adapt the existing RIFAN 2 IP network and to integrate new ships and remedy hardware and software sustainment in the coming years.

The objective of the original contract was to develop and implement an IP-capable communications system for use during training exercises and missions on ships, submarines and aircraft belonging to the French naval, air and land forces. R&S has now been commissioned to maintain the existing radio communications systems up to 2027. The field-proven R&S M3SR Series4400 VHF/UHF radios are equipped with the SATURN digital NATO EPM (ECCM) waveform and are interoperable with the analogue HAVE QUICK algorithm. The radios transmit Link 11 tactical data and are prepared for Link 22. The R&S radios use both fixed and hopping frequencies for voice transmission and support IP-based data transfer with high throughput.

The purpose of this next phase is to equip French naval forces with a truly secure broadband network designed for the transmission of data with different classification levels – from unclassified to secret – between ships at sea and shore stations. The network transmits data from applications that coordinate carrier group operations and those dedicated to on-board logistics management. It is capable of combining several communications streams in order to optimise the use of transmission capacity. The network uses satellite connections as well as radio communications systems, allowing all-IP transmission between ships, with a range of several dozen nautical miles.

RIFAN 2 also provides overall network management and cybersecurity incident monitoring capability. This can take place either from a shore-based management system or on board ships, allowing crews to make decisions independently on how best to use the network based on the operational situation.

RIFAN 2.1 will improve the existing network that already connects all units of French naval forces, such as this frigate division pictured in Toulon harbour. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

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