Gaining Momentum

Rohde & Schwarz Soveron-D radio. (Rohde & Schwarz)
Rohde & Schwarz Soveron-D radio. (Rohde & Schwarz)

The modernisation of Heer (German Army) communications is gathering pace following the recent confirmation of an order for tactical radios by the German government.

Rohde & Schwarz Soveron-D V/UHF radio is equipping the German armed forces and is being installed in the command variant of the Puma tracked infantry fighting vehicle used by the German Army.

Rohde & Schwarz signed a contract with Germany’s Ministry of Defence in December 2022 to supply new tactical radios across the German armed forces as part of the CNR (Combat Net Radio) initiative. The Streitkräftegemeinsame verbundfähige Funkgeräteausstattung (SVFUA) project forms part of this effort. The SVFUA acronym translates as Joint Armed Forces Interconnected Radio Equipment. Reports have stated that up to 30,000 radios could eventually be supplied across Germany’s armed forces via the CNR programme.

In early December 2023, the company announced the final confirmation of the CNR procurement. Rohde & Schwarz’ Soveron-D radio is fulfilling the SVFUA requirement. This Very/Ultra High Frequency (V/UHF: 30 megahertz/MHz to three gigahertz) system is initially equipping the Heer’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann/Rheinmetall Puma tracked infantry fighting vehicles.

Waveforms

Installation onboard the Puma commenced in 2020, according to reports, with the radio outfitting the command variant of the platform. According to Rohde & Schwarz’ official literature, Soveron-D can use several distinct waveforms: These include unclassified, fixed-frequency North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) V/UHF waveforms; NATO’s HAVEQUICK-I/II classified anti-jam waveform; national narrowband and wideband networking waveforms; plus VHF waveforms to link with legacy systems.

It is noteworthy that Germany, and Rohde & Schwarz, is also a partner in the ESSOR (European Secure Software-defined Radio) waveform. ESSOR is developing a wideband networking waveform to support multinational, coalition interoperability. It is likely that the ESSOR waveform will be carried by the Soveron-D radios equipping the Puma command vehicles.

NATO VJTF

A statement supplied to Armada by Rohde & Schwarz said that Soveron-D equips Pumas supporting NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). The VJTF forms the spearhead element of NATO’s Response Force. The radios play an important role providing a link to the Elbit PNR-1000 handheld V/UHF radios used by subordinate echelons. Over the longer term “all Puma vehicles are to be upgraded with the SVFUA radio” while new-build vehicles will have the transceiver factory-installed.

The statement said that details on when deliveries of the radios to the German Army are to conclude remain classified, although the company “was able to start series deliveries very shortly after parliamentary contract approval.” Moreover, “a significant number of communications devices have already been delivered,” and deliveries are continuing. “This includes all necessary project elements in hardware and software for immediate use by the soldiers.”

by Dr. Thomas Withington