Spanish Army Looks to Complete PR4G Radio Rollout
in 1992, the Spanish Army began replacing its man-portable and vehicle radios with Amper’s PR4G series, which offered improved encryption in a package that allows for software upgrades instead of costly, time-consuming, and difficult hardware upgrades. A number of units have already been equipped with these “software-defined” radios, and Spain’s Ejercito de Tierra wants to complete the rollout.
To that end, on Aug 31/07 Spain’s Council of Ministers has authorized [en Espanol] a EUR 180 million (about $245 million) buy of PR4G Version 3 tactical radios and accessories between 2007-2011. Contracts will follow, but the broad thrust and budget set asides are now agreed. These new radios bring a number of new capabilities to the table…
The new radio equipment is based on the French PR4G VHF standard, and Amper is partnered with Thales to produce it. The radios are compatible with previous generations, and incorporate new data transmission capacities which quadruple the speed of the previous generation. A cutting-edge digital voice coder (vocoder) which ensures the highest quality voice transmissions during all propagation conditions or when clutter is present.
F@stnet protocol supports both voice and data transfer, retaining the system’s frequency hopping and anti jamming modes. The system also supports a proprietary frequency hopping Multiplex mode called SIVD, offering the capability of simultaneously and independently transferring secure Voice and Data communications in the same radio (without prioritizing voice over data or vice versa). The radio also supports standard IP/Ethernet interface makes through the F@stnet a tactical internet protocol. Transmission speeds are automatically adjusted to best suit particular environmental conditions.
A GPS receiver incorporated into the equipment permits the immediate location of the radio position, and the adoption of more compact production technologies has led to radios with half the volume and weight of previous generations.
Amper Productas has supplied over 5,000 PR4G radios of various configurations to the Spanish Armed forces in previous contracts; see their TRC 9000 family in particular.
The equipment provides the foundation for the systems known as Combat Networks which provides communications to small units down to battalion level, even in hostile environments in which electronic warfare is present. PR4G communications equipment is also used in other military systems including Spain’s Leopard 2s, Pizarro ICVs, Eurocopter Tiger HAD attack helicopters, and in the majority of Spanish Navy Ships. Finally, PR4G forms part of the means of transmission used in the army’s tactical area network system (RBA) and in the Spanish Army Command and Control System (SIMACET), two equally sophisticated systems delivered by Amper Programas for the Army.
Additional Readings & Sources
DID is grateful to Spanish reader Pedro Lucio for the tip, and for his translation of the recent Spanish release.
- Thales (May 24/07) – Fifth European PR4G user club meeting, in Madrid
- AMPER Group (Nov 24/05) – Amper introduces the new generation of tactical radio equipment for the Army
- Red Orbit (April 5/05) – Battlefield Networks From Tip to Tail
- Thales (Oct 12/01) – Thales reinforces its position in the field of tactical communication systems. PR4G is a widely-used standard.
- Armada Magazine (May 2001) – Radio Families on the Tactical Scene. Excellent overview of various radio families, including a look at the trend of software-defined radios.
- AFCEA Signal Magazine (September 2000) – French Technology Stimulates Innovation, Stiff Rivalry