Progress on new SANDF tactical communication system


Radio users in the four services of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will note with interest an announcement in the Armscor annual report for the 2018/19 financial year.

The state-owned defence acquisition agency states: “The development and industrialisation phase of the new generation tactical communication system is nearing completion and industrialisation of the four major sub-systems: high frequency radio, very/ultra-high frequency radio, intra-platform communication and short range communication systems have been completed and all manufacturing baselines established”.

“The communication system encompasses state-of-the-art transmission and information security techniques, incorporating semi real-time data link performance characteristics and digital voice communication. Development of various elements in this system are completed and will result in the first tactical communications system in the world that will provide complete inter-operability between all elements of the battlefield (air force, army, navy, etc.) without using gateways or protocol converters,” the report states.

It goes on to state that development of the communication management system, which enables execution of design test and evaluation as well as operational test and evaluation of the total system comprising all major sub-systems operating as a system is also complete.

“The first two production contracts are nearing completion and follow-up production orders have been placed” the report states without giving details of value and duration.

Reutech Communications, a Reutech division, is a contractor to Armscor for the development and manufacture of a range of software defined combat net radios (CNRs). This is part of modernising communication in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

The Reutech product is designed for joint operations between airborne, ground-based and naval forces. It is based on a common architecture and common tactical data link enabling seamless integration of C4 (Command, Control, Co-ordination & Communications) systems, sensors, weapons and intelligence across the battlespace.

Reutech is supplying the SANDF with thousands of new generation software-defined radios over a ten year period. These cover land, sea and airborne applications. They have been deployed operationally on peacekeeping duty in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).