Leonardo’s Software Defined Radio communications in the times of Network Enabled Capability

In recent decades, a complex international scenario has gradually developed with the increasing emergence of civil wars or conflicts between unconventional armies in territories where the state, as legally envisaged, no longer exists. Such a situation could potentially expand the fighting into neighboring pacified areas, turning them into international terrorist bases.

In this setting, information is undoubtedly the dividing line between the success or failure of military action. The ability to assert superiority over one’s opponent in the research, development, dissemination, and use of information thus becomes fundamental, as it provides decision makers with a vast amount of cross-analyzed and coordinated information, providing them with a permanent advantage. From this point of view, the arrival of Information Technology is fundamental in forming the basis of Ability to work with a network (NEC), which consists of enabling the ability to combine various elements – instructional, procedural, technical, organizational and human – belonging to different organizations into a single network so that they can interact to achieve and sustain a significant strategic superiority.

To meet the new network-centric requirements of the armed forces, Leonardo Department of Land and Naval Defense Electronics has developed a range of technologies and cutting-edge products including SWave SDR rangebased on Software defined radio (SDR) technology, a universal broadband communication tool whose functions and aspects can be modified by software. Software Defined Radio brings a true revolution in the field of military radio communications.

A single SDR can actually replace a variety of traditional radios; an innovation whose impact is comparable to the technological leap made between the first computers and today’s efficient and practical computers. SDR is specifically developed from the idea of ​​a single radio communication platform with its basic parameters fully reconfigurable by software based on the selected communication mode. SDR supports multiple radio communications simultaneously through unique applications. Another feature of SDR is its “portability“; different forms of radio signals can be easily transferred from one “radio platform” to another, thanks to the shared architecture. In addition, SDRs have a longer life compared to traditional equipment, since they can be easily updated with new waveforms .

The SWave SDR family includes the newer portable single channel Software Defined Radio (HH-E)a portable two-channel SDR (MB1)a two-channel mobile radio (VB1) and a four channel mobile radio (VQ1). A previous variant of the SWave HH-E, the Remove HHcurrently in service with the Italian Army.

An SDR SWave version is also in development for Navy. Leonardo is one of the leading partners of GROW (European Secure Software Defined Radio) consortium which aims to create a shared EU radio architecture ensuring that all SWaveSDR family products are always compliant and compatible with the development of new waveforms.

With a weight and dimensions comparable to a commercial smartphone, The SWave HH-E weighs less than 550 grams and is only 155 millimeters long. It is the latest product in Leonardo’s family of SWave military radios, with reconfigurable secure data and broadband network functions, in addition to standard voice communications. Due to its dual use of new and traditional waveforms, the HH-E can interoperate with other radios in the field and C4I (Command Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) systems and is fully upgradable, thus providing Army personnel with a low-cost, flexible and flexible radio solution.

In Tactics and Vehicle Applications, Leonardo SDR VQ1 (Vehicle Quad-channel Type1) is a four channel radio which can replace four traditional radios while taking up less space in vehicles. VQ1 will be installed on board the VTLM2 (Light Multipurpose Tactical Vehicle) LYNS and the new armored vehicle CENTAUR II.

Last but not least, in the naval and aeronautical field, Leonardo’s software-defined radios are also provided on board the new Italian ships (“Naval Law“): the offshore multi-purpose patrol vessels (PPA), the logistics support vessel (LSS) and the amphibious unit (LHD).

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