Rohde & Schwarz at sea. On the right wavelength

R&S Stories

Rohde & Schwarz at sea. On the right wavelength

Making the world’s oceans safer and more secure with Rohde & Schwarz reconnaissance and communications solutions

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Updated on 03-Apr-2024 🛈
Originally published on 03-Sep-2019

Free and secure maritime trade routes are indispensable for supplying goods to the world's population. Protecting these routes is one of the key tasks of navies worldwide. Communications and reconnaissance solutions from Rohde & Schwarz help make this possible.

Oil, liquid gas, fruit, flatscreen monitors – the list of goods transported over the oceans by ship is virtually endless. Ocean shipping is significantly cheaper than other forms of transportation and is the preferred form for around 90 percent of intercontinental trade. The oceans are the most important channel for goods transportation.

Protecting these global trade lifelines is the responsibility of the international community because threats to maritime security and freedom, for example piracy or terrorism, can lead to massive supply and stability problems and endanger the sovereignty of coastal countries.

HMAS Ballarat's Boarding Party conduct a flag verification boarding on a dhow suspected of smuggling illegal narcotics.

An example scenario at sea

A frigate on the Indian Ocean. Its mission: to protect international trade routes. Long before unidentified ships are visible from the bridge of the frigate, the onboard reconnaissance system detects several suspicious communications signals. Direction finding measurements show that two unidentified ships approached each other, remained next to each other for two hours, and then went on their separate ways. Could they be smugglers?

The captain uses the internal communications system to consult with the operations room, which receives all incoming data and generates the current common operational picture (COP). The commander decides to set course towards the source of the signals. A shipboard helicopter takes off for visual reconnaissance. Those involved in the operation maintain constant contact over secure encrypted radio links. Still and video images of the observed incident and the situation report are sent to fleet command via secure communications channels in anticipation of further instructions.

Systems for secure onboard communications and reconnaissance.

Systems for secure onboard communications and reconnaissance

Network centric operations require reconnaissance and communications solutions that protect naval forces and connect them through the secure exchange of voice, image and COP data in near real time. These solutions are used for communications within naval vessels and in joint operations: ship to ship, ship to air and ship to shore.

Around the world, 40 navies are equipped with advanced solutions from Rohde & Schwarz. As a market leader in information and security technology with decades of expertise in the naval business, Rohde & Schwarz offers efficient system solutions for naval communications and reconnaissance, both on and under the water.

From security-critical PCB chips to integrated radios and high-performance antennas, Rohde & Schwarz develops and produces all of the important components from a single source and delivers turnkey solutions for navies and coast guards.

The company's services include collaboration on ship design as early as the planning phase as well as production, delivery and installation of systems in hulls and on-site service during the operational phase.


All-rounder for secure onboard communications

The robust, end-to-end encrypted communications solutions focus on software defined radios. They enable voice and data communications in the HF and VHF/UHF frequency ranges with multiple security levels over various ranges.

The hub of all onboard communications is the NAVICS® integrated communications system. It interconnects the onboard voice terminals and all other subsystems for internal and external communications via a uniform IP network. The system also manages all radio lines and frequencies, prioritizes message exchange and controls the connected telecommunication devices. Its multilevel security architecture enables secure, trustworthy and tap-proof communications.

To enable free onboard movement as much as possible and increase flexibility, NAVICS® offers a Wi-Fi based communications system. In combination with a special application, this transforms smartphones into full-featured mobile voice terminals.

No information transfer without information acquisition.

No information transfer without information acquisition

Automated multichannel capable reconnaissance systems from Rohde & Schwarz continuously monitor the complete electromagnetic spectrum used by radio and radar equipment. The systems provide data about the behavior and intentions of the reconnaissance target, significantly contributing to COP generation and thereby to the naval forces' self protection.

No more onboard crowding with integrated antenna systems.

No more onboard crowding

Even on the largest platforms, space is a scarce resource. The numerous antennas required for communications, navigation and reconnaissance as well as weapons and radar warning systems mean that space can quickly become tight.

Integrated antenna systems from Rohde & Schwarz reduce the number of onboard antennas. They combine several high-performance transmit antennas with highly sensitive direction finding and detection elements on a single mast. Alternatively, the systems can be space-saving integrated components of multifunction masts. Omnidirectional capability and an optimized radiation pattern are indispensable, for example to ensure smooth communications with incoming aircraft.

Close by to protect and connect naval forces

Close by to protect and connect naval forces

With locations in more than 70 countries, Rohde & Schwarz is close to its customers around the world. The independent family-owned company is only accountable to its customers and to itself. R&S Marinesysteme GmbH in Kiel is an established competence center specializing in the development and project planning of system solutions. The Rohde & Schwarz employees' mission in Kiel, the "sailing city", is to coordinate the entire action chain onboard.

While conflicts at sea, piracy, international criminal activity or terrorism may take place far away, they directly affect free maritime connections and the free movement of goods. Communications and reconnaissance systems from Rohde & Schwarz protect and connect naval forces worldwide, whose task is to safeguard maritime security and thereby contribute to the success of international free trade.

Simulated scenarios, real results.

Simulated scenarios, real results

As a leading provider of electronic test and measurement solutions, Rohde & Schwarz also develops and produces T&M instruments and test systems for the defense industry and operational units. The applications include radio and satellite communications systems testing, satellite-based navigation, radar sensors, system integration and EMC tests.

Rohde & Schwarz T&M solutions ensure reliable performance – even long before deployment in the field or on the high seas. When testing the multifunctional radar, for example, a generator simulates real, highly complex deployment scenarios. This allows the performance of entire radar systems to be tested at an early stage of development in a protected lab environment, considerably reducing development and deployment risks.

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