Airborne Transceivers R&S®MR6000A for A400M Transport Aircraft

Transport Aircraft for Multiple Applications

In spring 2003, the European OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d‘Armement) defense agency placed an order with Airbus Military S.L. as the prime contractor to supply a total of 180 A400M transport aircraft. The participating nations are Germany (60 units), France (50), Spain (27), Great Britain (25), Turkey (10), Belgium (7) and Luxemburg (1).

The A400M transport aircraft is a fourengine, air-to-air-refuelable, high-wing propeller aircraft capable of moving helicopters (e.g. Tiger or NH 90) or over 100 soldiers with full gear. The aircraft can be deployed for low-altitude flights over medium distances and for depositing cargo or dropping parachuters. If appropriately equipped, it can also be used as a tanker or an ambulance aircraft.

State-of-the-Art Communications Technology

The transport aircraft must be capable of operating in international air space under all mission conditions and will therefore be equipped with state-ofthe-art navigation and communications equipment. As for the VHF /UHF communications system, Rohde&Schwarz won out over international competition and received the order for its R&S®MR6000A airborne transceivers. These are software defined radios of the latest generation, which can be upgraded to include new functionality simply by software downloads. Due to the highly flexible software concept, the transceivers can be adapted to changing requirements throughout their long life on board the A400M. They employ ultra-modern communications methods such as the digital SATURN (second generation of antijam tactical UHF radio for NATO) and the widely used analog HAVE QUICK, which provide protection against jammers.

Both waveforms have been standardized on the basis of NATO agreements (STANAG 4372 and 4246), which ensures full interoperability with systems used within NATO. In addition to employing these TRANSEC methods, security is further enhanced by means of a hardware encryption component (COMSEC). This combination is currently unparalleled on the market and offers the maximum possible protection against jamming and eavesdropping.

The transceivers feature high mechanical resistance to vibration, acceleration and shock. They offer performance data even surpassing the requirements defined by military standards (e.g. MILSTD-810). They also meet the special requirements with respect to electromagnetic compatibility (e.g. MIL-STD-461/462).

The R&S®MR6000A transceivers offer a variety of excellent features in operational use (see box). They are made up of LSI modules with built-in test (BIT) capability. This enables the use of cost-effective, standardized repair tools. Hardware realignment is not required, and the costs of spare parts stockkeeping can be kept low. Automatic test routines allow users to find and correct errors on their own.

EADS CASA signed a contract (on behalf of Airbus Military S.L.) with Rohde&Schwarz in January 2005 for the delivery of transceivers for the A400M program. Each aircraft will be equipped with four transceivers. Export orders for more aircraft are expected.

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Topic: Airborne Communications Solutions

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