Shore communications systems

Broadcast and Ship to Shore (BRASS) and Maritime Rear Link System is widely implemented in NATO nations. To take advantage of new technologies and address new requirements, NATO developed BRASS Enhancement One Target Architecture (BRE1TA) that defines improvements to the existing shore High Frequency (HF) stations that will become Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) Access Points in future.

BRASS provides naval forces with radio communications and associated services. The networking of the nation’s shore stations allows NATO to satisfy its need for a global radio communications infrastructure in order to cover different areas, without building and operating a complete naval communications infrastructure of its own. The aim of NATO BRASS is to provide reliable communications between ships and shore offering access to all available NATO BLOS Access Points.

NATO plans to move HF communications to the new BRE1TA, which is also the basis for the implementation of wideband HF services. The key capabilities provided by BRE1TA focus on non-SATCOM HF wireless BLOS. HF is the key, because it acts as BLOS communications and it can reach where Satellite Communications (SATCOM) cannot (e.g. polar regions) plus is not as vulnerable (satellites can be jammed or destroyed).

BRE1TA offers simplified routing, resulting in faster transmission of military information between coastal stations and seagoing units in accordance with STANAG 4406; and IP services can be provided over shortwave links in accordance with STANAG 5066. Backward compatibility with NATO BRASS Initial Core Capability (ICC) and NATO legacy systems ensures interoperability with other branches of the armed forces and NATO units.

Shore communications systems
Shore communications systems

BRASS Evolution

BRASS Evolution (BRASS EO) envisions BRASS ICC (ACP 127, STANAG 5066 Character Oriented Serial Stream (COSS), and ALE 2G [Automatic Link Establishment]) continuing on to BRASS EO (E1, Enhancement One, BREITA with STANAG 4406 including ACP 142, STANAG 5066 IP/T-MMHS, and STANAG 4538 ALE 3G). BRE1TA will then continue to BRASS E2, the Future BRASS Standard (WBHF, HF-IP and ALE 4G).

BRASS Evolution envisions BRASS ICC (ACP 127, STANAG 5066 character-oriented serial stream [COSS] and automatic link establishment [ALE 2G]) continuing on to BRASS EO (E1, Enhancement One, BRE1TA with STANAG 4406 including ACP 142, STANAG 5066 IP/T-MMHS and STANAG 4538 ALE 3G). BRE1TA will then continue on to BRASS E2, the future BRASS standard (WBHF, HF-IP and ALE 4G).

Rohde & Schwarz introduced BRASS EO for the Danish Navy, which is the first user to implement the new NATO target architecture for HF communications within the fleet. Rohde & Schwarz is equipping 12 ships (Absalon, Iver-Huitfeldt, Thetis and Knud Rasmussen classes), two coastal stations and a training facility for robust and autonomous long-range communications (BLOS). The system is based on the R&S®M3SR Series4100 HF radios, the R&S®MMHS military message handling system and other key components of the integrated NAVICS communications system. Cybersecurity solutions conforming with the latest NATO information assurance requirements are integrated into the IT infrastructure. Rohde & Schwarz radio equipment is prepared for future wideband HF applications with higher data throughput.

A modern communication interface and switching system (CISS) has to address existing communications processes (ACP 127 using high-power unidirectional broadcast transmitters) and modern ARQ based communications processes (STANAG 5066 and STANAG 4406 are optimized for bidirectional communication with an adaptive data rate and automatic error correction). The Rohde & Schwarz system can easily interface with IP networks for split-site configurations and centralized communications control, including flexible assignment of all resources. The Rohde & Schwarz radio pool feature automates assignment of available frequencies for ship-shore.

Modern military message handling systems (MMHS), as defined in NATO standard STANAG 4406 support shore networks and radio networks (as of Annex E).

The major benefits of R&S®MMHS are as follows:

  • Automatic message processing
  • Support for attachments (Binary files, APP-11, ADatP-3)
  • One mailbox for all message formats and types
  • PKI security framework protecting against fake messages
  • Synchronization of Address and routing information to keep information correct and up to date


The Ship-Shore-Ship Buffer (SSSB) is a real-time data link buffer system supporting data exchange between naval forces, including airborne assets, and their associated air defense ground environment units. SSSB functionality includes the data transmission and forwarding on a multitude of national and NATO data links including Link 11 and in the future Link 22. SSSB generates a real-time common operational picture including air, surface and sub-surface elements.

Rohde & Schwarz offers systems for SSSB. References include Germany, The Netherlands and other nations.

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