Embedded Logistics Put to the Test – with R&S®M3TR Tactical Radios

Powerful data transmission via tactical radio, which is required in embedded logistics applications, for example, places stringent demands on radio techniques and equipment. A demonstration of an EmLo®/telemaintenance application has once again shown the versatility that the integrated VHF/UHF modem provides to R&S®M3TR software based radios.

Embedded Logistics Enhances Efficiency

EmLo® (embedded logistics) is an all-embracing concept for handling and utilizing logistic data. It was developed in 2007 by Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH in cooperation with partners in order to boost the efficiency of vehicle and weapon systems. A key element of EmLo® is the integration of logistic intelligence into vehicle or weapon systems by means of an EmLo® processor. The processor receives, processes and evaluates data and information from the vehicle, and makes it available for further processing in the vehicle as well as for centralized data processing (e. g. for fleet management or logistics, including stock management). In centralized data processing, the EmLo® concept takes into account the standard application software product families (SASPF) currently being introduced by the German Armed Forces. Data transfer is via a defined interface to SAP.

The EmLo® processor keeps, for example, an electronic record of the vehicle, in which current configuration and status data as well as error data of the vehicle are stored. If the processor is connected to the vehicle’s radiocommunications equipment, the data can be transmitted directly to the SASPF system, provided the necessary bandwidth is available and taking into account tactical requirements. If it is not possible to establish a data link, the data is stored on the EmLo® processor and read out in the camp, e. g. by maintenance personnel, upon completion of a mission.

EmLo® covers a variety of applications: It supports the vehicle crew, the fleet management, the provision of information for logistics processes and their coupling, as well as the SASPF-based management of operational and fault-related data. It is also intended to support telemaintenance. For this application, current operational information can be helpful in locating and determining the cause of a fault.

To demonstrate this, Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH, with the support of the German Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement, outfitted a demo vehicle with the appropriate equipment, which included an EmLo® processor and an R&S®M3TR radio. The vehicle, based on Wiesel 2 digital, was showcased at the 2008 ELROB (European Land Robot Trial) by the Army College for Land Systems Engineering located in Aachen, Germany.

Example Scenario: Telemaintenance

The example scenario described here demonstrates just one of the many applications provided by EmLo®. On starting the vehicle, the driver receives an error message indicating a fault in the braking system, which means that the vehicle is not operational. The driver reports the fault via the R&S®M3TR radio to the sergeant responsible for system maintenance. The sergeant instructs the driver to read out the contents of the error memory from the electronic vehicle record and send it via radio. The data is transmitted by means of the R&S®M3TR. This takes no more than a few seconds due to the small file size and the available bandwidth.

VHF / UHF Modem in the R&S®M3TR – the Key to a Variety of Data Applications via Radio Links

The VHF / UHF modem in the R&S®M3TR radio makes it possible to run any desired data application via a radio link. Based on orthogonal frequency division multiplex (OFDM), it offers significant advantages over conventional solutions. The high-datarate useful information is split among multiple low-data-rate substreams and transmitted on multiple carrier frequencies in parallel. Pilot tones for synchronization and for determining channel quality are inserted in addition. The signal can be transmitted with up to 24 kHz bandwidth at 25 kHz standard channel spacing. By dividing the data volume among multiple carriers, it is possible to use a symbol duration of sufficient length. This allows fading effects and symbol interferences to be minimized. Symbol duration with the R&S®M3TR is at least 1.5 ms. The VHF/UHF modem in the R&S®M3TR employs different transmission rates and bandwidths and can be used in the frequency range from 30 MHz to 512 MHz.

Featuring long symbol duration, OFDM is less susceptible to fading. Nevertheless, the R&S®M3TR VHF/UHF modem includes mechanisms to correct the effects of fading. To compensate interference within the transmission channel, the modem contains an adaptive equalizer that is controlled mainly by the pilot tones. The modem thus ensures reliable and secure transmission in mobile missions for all types of data applications.

The sergeant analyzes the error memory and detects a missing sensor signal as the cause of the fault. Via the R&S®M3TR, the sergeant gives the driver further instructions for solving the problem. The sergeant directs the driver to where the sensor is installed and has the driver check whether the connectors are fitted properly. And the cause of the fault is quickly determined: A plug connection has become loose due to vibration, and restoring it is only a matter of seconds.

In the above example, the additional operational information provided by EmLo® has made it possible to pinpoint the cause of the fault remotely and advise the on-site staff how to remedy the fault (telemaintenance). The R&S®M3TR radio allowed instantaneous switching between radiotelephony and radio data transmission. With the EmLo® processor connected to the radio, it was also possible to transmit data while communicating via radiotelephone.

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Topic: Tactical Communications Solutions

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