Radio program

Germany chooses prime supplier for European tactical radio program

COLOGNE, Germany – The German Ministry of Defense has appointed radio specialist Rohde und Schwarz as the national leader in the development of a tactical radio for European ground forces.

This designation follows the approval of German lawmakers late last year to join the European Secure Software Defined Radio, or ESSOR. The project aims to unify the radio equipment operated by the land forces on the continent, eventually replacing the national variants with a common system.

Having equipment that allows multinational troops to communicate transparently on the battlefield is a key premise of the European Union’s effort for greater military prowess. The ESSOR program, founded in 2008, is managed by OCCAR, a pan-European defense procurement agency.

Besides Germany, the other members of the radio program are Finland, France, Italy, Poland and Spain. Their national industrial leaders are respectively Bittium, Thales, Leonardo, Radmor and Indra. All companies are represented in the a4ESSOR joint venture.

Rohde und Schwarz is joining the effort as the “Operational Capability 1” phase, centered on a high data rate waveform, has been underway since 2017. This step “defines the joint development and update of an interoperable, reliable, robust and broadband radio waveform for connected armed forces, ”the company said in a statement.

The Munich-based company plans to include its SOVERON D radio in the program, which is expected to be delivered to the German armed forces later this year.

The European radio program also has its feet in the pool of PESCO initiatives, designed to foster multinational defense projects within the bloc through grants from the envisaged European Defense Fund.

Under the aegis of the EU, officials hope to develop additional waveforms, “for example for specific use cases for air operations,” the statement by Rohde und Schwarz reads.

The US Joint Tactical Radio System’s software communications architecture serves as a model for ESSOR, according to the program’s management agency.

Sebastian Sprenger is Associate Editor for Europe at Defense News, which covers the state of the defense market in the region, as well as US-EU cooperation and multinational investments in defense and global security. Previously, he was the editor of Defense News.