ESSOR Moves Ahead

ESSOR High Data Rate Waveform
The ESSOR waveform is an important step towards deepening the interoperability of Europe’s armies.

Sources tell Armada that Europe’s ESSOR tactical radio waveform could be ready for use by early 2022.

The news follows the announcement in May that the European Secure Software Defined Radio (ESSOR) High Data Rate (HDR) waveform had received formal acceptance. ESSOR is a pan-European initiative to furnish participating nations with a high data rate waveform to ease communications between the continent’s armies.

ESSOR is being developed under the auspices of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement/Joint Armaments Cooperation Organisation). OCCAR is a multilateral European institution managing pan-European defence projects. The A4ESSOR consortium developing the waveform includes Bittium (Finland), Indra (Spain), Leonardo (Italy), Radmor (Poland), Rohde and Schwarz (Germany) and Thales (France).

The formal acceptance of the HDR waveform was realised via the ESSOR Operational Capability-1 contract A4ESSOR signed with OCCAR. A press release announcing the news said that the armed forces of the A4ESSOR partner nations could now begin installing this waveform in their tactical radios.

The HDR is an ultra-high frequency waveform using a waveband of 225 megahertz/MHz to 400MHz. Up to 200 nodes can be housed on a single ESSOR network. The waveform can handle data rates of up to one megabit-per-second. It can sustain full duplex data and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) communications. Transmission security includes fast frequency hopping and it can work in environments where global navigation satellite signals are badly degraded or denied.


Sources close to the programme told Armada that development of the baseline HDR waveform was completed in mid-2020. Customer acceptance tests were passed at Leonardo’s facilities in Pisa, central Italy in November 2020. The acceptance follows “formal quality reviews by the defence ministries of all states participating in the programme.”

National interoperability tests will commence once the A4ESSOR partners install the waveform in their radios. The source added that these interoperability tests could be done by the end of this year: “Following the interoperability tests, the ESSOR HDR waveform is ready to use.”

Once national radio interoperability tests have been completed, international interoperability tests will be made. When completed “the HDR waveform will be ready to use at national and combined levels.”

by Dr. Thomas Withington