December Radio Roundup

Frequentis VOICE C2 System (Frequentis)
Frequentis’ VOICE C2 system will form part of the RAAF’s Air-6500 project which is enhancing Australian air and missile defence.

Armada’s monthly roundup of all the latest news in the military communications product, programme and operational domains.

Hearing Voices

In late October, Frequentis announced it was collaborating with Lockheed Martin to satisfy part of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Air-6500 project. In the words of Australia’s Department of Defence, Air-6500 will deliver a Joint Air Battle Management System to provide air and missile defence. Frequentis’ C4I subsidiary will supply its VOICE C2 product. As noted in a Frequentis press release VOICE C2 will provide a secure communications system “linking operators, radios and telephony across the RAAF’s operations.” Frequentis told Armada in a written statement that VOICE C2 “is an advanced internet protocol communications system based on simplified hardware and software components that, when combined, deliver a sophisticated communications platform.” In service, the system will let users “access and control radio, telephony, intercoms and paging systems using a single intuitive graphical user interface.” VOICE C2 is scalable equipping small sites and large national systems using voice over internet protocol communications. Frequentis declined to say which communications links VOICE C2 will support, and when VOICE C2 may commence and complete delivery. However, the company did disclose that it expects to deliver various capabilities at different stages throughout the Air-6500 programme.

Skynet Developments

Airbus has been awarded a contract from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) to support the country’s Skynet-5 communications satellites as they approach the end of their service lives. The UK has four Skynet-5 spacecraft which were launched between March 2007 and December 2012. Reports stated that this initiative, dubbed the SDSC (Skynet Design Support Contract), will “provide post-design services to the MOD and its future service providers to support the transition from Skynet-5.” The Skynet-5 constellation will be replaced by the new Skynet-6 satellites. The first satellite, Skynet-6A, could be launched in circa 2025. An Airbus spokesperson told Armada that the SDSC will see the company providing “largely fourth-line support for many elements of Skynet-5 where we are the original equipment manufacturer. This includes the satellites, terminals, modems and core networks.”

From EDEM to EDIM

Comtech has shared details with Armada regarding its Enterprise Digital Intermediate Frequency Multi-Carrier (EDIM) Satellite Communications (SATCOM) modem equipping the US Army. The company was awarded a contract in early October, worth $48.6 million, to deliver EDIM modems to the force. Daniel Gizinski, Comtech’s chief strategy officer says that “EDIM is contemplated as a largely drop-in replacement for existing modems installed in fixed sites, including regional hub nodes and DISA (Defence Information Systems Agency) facilities.” Mr. Gizinski continued that the modems will work with existing, legacy SATCOM terminals “while leaving headroom to integrate with upcoming developments.” He expects the EDIM modems to support multiple SATCOM frequency bands: “The system is designed to operate over a wide instantaneous bandwidth and to be SATCOM frequency agnostic.” Comtech expects the new modems to eventually replace existing EBEMs (Enhanced Bandwidth Efficient Modems). Mr. Gizinski adds that the EDIM design “achieves an eight-to-one size benefit over existing EBEM systems and introduces future digital SATCOM capabilities.” There is no word on when deliveries of the EDIM modems might commence: “The fielding quantities, delivery schedules and contract vehicles for EDIM modems will be determined by the US Army and other services that will leverage the EDIM capability,” Mr. Gizinski concluded.

US Army SATCOM
US Army satellite communications capabilities are being enhanced by Comtech’s Enterprise Digital Intermediate Frequency Multi-Carrier modem, better known as EDIM. EDIM is expected to replace legacy SATCOM modems currently in use at several fixed sites around the world.

by Dr. Thomas Withington