Radios developed and manufactured by the OBR CTM S.A. company (Research and Development Center – Center for Maritime Technology) constitute a proof that the communications system operated by the Polish Armed Forces may be created with the use of the building blocks provided by the domestic industry. This is especially relevant, as the Territorial Defence (WOT) component has just been formed within the structures of the Polish Armed Forces - as dr Hubert Jando PhD, spokesman for OBR CTM S.A states in his article, written for Defence24.pl.
The process of creating a new component of the army entails procurement of the required equipment and hardware for several thousand soldiers. Thus, it is worth to stress the fact that most of the purchases may be focused on products of domestic origin. The solutions proposed by the Gdynia-based OBR CTM company which, since 2014, has been a part of the Polish Armaments Group, make it possible to secure at least a part of the WOT’s requirements, as well as requirements of the whole Polish Army, when it comes to the communication suites and data-links. The family of the Polish radios based on a unified radio communications platform, including the following devices: RKS-8000, RKP-8100 and RKL-8200 radios; radio modems: MLA-1101, MRM-1201; and SPA-8200 controller; may turn out to be very useful within that process.
What is even more important, the aforesaid devices are based on technology over which the OBR CTM S.A. company yields full control, having the copyright protection applicable to all of the developed solutions. This was possible, as research and implementation and development works on the individual solutions have all been carried out at OBR CTM S.A since many years. The works included development of the signal-processing techniques, perfecting, implementation and development of new data transmission algorithms, automatic link establishment, all of which would increase the intentional and non-intentional jamming and interference.
RKS-8000 Medium Power Short Wave Radio
The digital RKS-8000 Medium Power Short Wave Radio, offered by OBR CTM, provides communications at the tactical level, it may also be widely used at the element level. Thus, this radio is perfectly suited for vehicular use (also in case of the armoured platforms), as well as within the stationary communication nodes.
This device fully meets the western standards, including the requirements of the following norms and documents: STANAG 4198 and MIL-STD-188-110B App. B, (digital voice transmission), STANAG 5066 Annex E (radio remote control), STANAG 4538 and MIL-STD-188-141B App. A (ALE – Automatic Link Establishment), MIL-STD-461 D (compatibility), STANAG 4285, STANAG 4415, STANAG 4529, STANAG 4539 and MIL-STD-810 E. RKS-8000 radio is operated within the band between 1.5 and 30 MHz, and makes it possible to program 399 channels, with frequency steps of 1, 10 or 100 Hz.
The manufacturer also ensured that it shall remain possible to remotely control the radio with the use of RS-232, RS-422 i RS-423 or Ethernet interfaces. The radio includes an embedded encryption module, compliant with the AES-256 algorithm and “frequency hopping” mode. It may be easily embedded within the Link-11 system. Moreover, there is also an option to design a Split Site radio, in which data and audio signals are being transmitted via an Ethernet interface. The transmitter may be operated with a power of 150 Watts (RKS-8000-B radio coupled with the RKS-8000WM-B power amplifier), and optionally - 400 Watts (RKS-8000-D radio coupled with the RKS-8000WM-D amplifier).
RKP-8100 Backpack Broadband Radio
RKP-8100 is a backpack broadband radio operated within the frequency range from 1.5 to 512 MHz (HF/VHF/UHF bands). According to the manufacturer, this radio may be viewed as the latest generation transmitter-receiver, meeting the requirements of the following international norms and documents: STANAG 4538, 4529 4285, 4539, 4415, 4203, 4204, 4205, 5066, as well as MIL-STD- 188-110B/C, MIL-STD-188-141B/C norms. The radio also features an embedded encryption module, compliant with the AES-256 algorithm, as well as the “frequency hopping” mode. It may be easily embedded within the Link-11 system. The whole device weighs around 7.5 kilograms (4.5 kilograms without the batteries).
The radio in question may also be used in a mobile ad-hoc network-MANET setting, in line with STANAG 4691 norm. The vehicular variant has been fitted with a special RKP-8100AM-B adapter, integrated into a single device with the RKP-8100 radio. The housing of the adapter makes it possible to rapidly mount it within a vehicle, while its user interface ensures intuitive operation. The vehicular variant has its maximum power output increased up to 150 W (within the HF band) and 50W (within the UHF band). Moreover, reliability of communications in collocation conditions has been increased, through implementation of additional narrow-band filtering systems. The filters cover the whole HF band and selected frequencies of the UHF band (30–88 MHz and 225–400 MHz), where they may be operated with the frequency hopping principle adopted.
RKL 8200 Aviation Radio
RKL 8200 is, according to OBR CTM, the first ever Polish aviation radio compliant with the “frequency hopping” functionality, of modern design with an ability to add new programmable functions. It is a device, the design of which is based on the RKP-8100 backpack radio, with frequency range limited between 30 and 88 MHz, in line with the specific requirements issued by the Ordering Party. RKL 8200 has most of the solutions of its “portable” model radio included, this applies to the AES-256W encryption module, along with some new elements, such as the ARINC-429 data link interface.
More optional components may be applied and utilized, since the open architecture design makes it possible to further expand the hardware in question, through addition of extra software and hardware functionalities. RKL-8200 radio meets the aviation design, reliability and environmental requirements of the Defence Norms for the S.2.1 group devices, as well as the electromagnetic compatibility requirements of the Polish Norms and Defence Norms for the onboard aerospace systems. What is relevant, the compliance with the aforesaid norms was being verified at the certified OBR CTM S.A labs.
OBR CTM Radio Modems
Radio modems designed and manufactured at the OBR CTM S.A. facility also remain an important part of the Polish offer related to the wireless communications. Here, we are referring to the following devices: MLA-1101, MRM- 1201, (the latter of which is already being widely utilized by the Polish Armed Forces). MLA-1101 modem is destined to be used in the terminal subsystem of the LINK-11 suite, as the Data Terminal Set device. This makes it possible to exchange data within the LINK-11 automatic data exchange and tactical situation visualization system, in a coupled arrangement with the said system’s components. The whole device has been adopted to be contained in a housing which could be mounted within a Rack 19 inch stand. MRM-1201 modem is acting as an UHF system (conforming with the STANAG 4691 ANNEX B Mobile Ad Hoc Relay Line-Of-Site Networking (Marlin) norm), and HF modem (operated in line with the following standards and norms: STANAG 4539, STANAG 4415, STANAG 4285, STANAG 4529, MIL-STD-188-110C p.5.3, Appendix C and F).
OBR CTM S.A also has a solution contained within its offer, providing compatibility and inter-operational profile for numerous means of radio communication. Here, we are referring to the SPA-8200 Controller, making it possible for different radios to operate together, within a single HF communications suite. The device may be configured in any way, with the use of a dedicated software suite and a Fill Gun, or with the use of a text terminal. The use of external data sources takes place via the RS-232, Ethernet (100Base-TX) and USB interfaces, whereas the transmitted data may be encoded via the AES-256 encryption algorithm. SPA-8200 Controller makes it possible to use the following standards: ALE 3G, in line with STANAG 4538 and ALE 2G, mail server, FTP server, radio modem, MELPe (Mixed-Excitation Linear Predictive enhanced) phonic/vocoder codec; for a variety of radios designed by numerous manufacturers.
CTM is willing to make the means of communications developed at the Gdynia company find their way towards subsequent projects contained within the updated Polish Armed Forces Technical Modernization Plan, with those projects playing a relevant role at the subsequent stages of the ongoing transformation that we may witness in case of the Polish Armed Forces now. This is even more pronounced, since the CTM designs, since many years, have been competing with the foreign offer.
Hubert Jando PhD, spokesman for OBR CTM S.A.