The R&S®M3TR on the EUFOR Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo

As part of the EUFOR mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, R&S®M3TR* radios were used by the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF). These radios proved their worth under extremely challenging conditions.

UN Resolution R-1671/2007 authorized deployment of EUFOR as a European Union peacekeeping force to support the election process in DR Congo. This military operation was undertaken with the approval of the DR Congo and supported by the EU within the framework of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESD P). Support provided by Portugal included marines (“fuzileiros”) who were assigned to the CJSOTF. The Portuguese contingent was stationed at the tactical base of the French 6th Marine Infantry Batalion at Camp N’Tachorene close to Port Gentil in Gabon, which is approx. 700 km northeast of the actual site of operations in the DR Congo.

The Portuguese marines used the R&S®M3TR as a tactical communications system both at the tactical base in Gabon and also at the operation area in the region around Kinshasa (DR Congo). They took advantage of the entire range of features provided by the R&S®M3TR. The equipment was subjected to extreme environmental conditions with typical humidity readings of over 90%.

The multiband capabilities provided by the R&S®M3TR were especially advantageous: The portable radios as well as the radios installed in vehicles provided complete coverage of the HF and VHF bands specified in the EUFOR mission’s communications plan.

The output power provided by the radios was extremely useful in all practical applications and ensured good connection quality for the distances to be covered. In its manpack version, the R&S®M3TR offers a maximum output power of 20 W in the HF range and 10 W in the VHF range. For vehicle-based installations, the output power is boosted using built-in power amplifiers. In the DR Congo, vehicle equipment with EID ’s* supplied 50W output power amplifier was used in the VHF range.

The fast R&S®SECOM-V frequency hopping method was successfully implemented for the VHF range as was the R&S®SECOM-H method, which is specially optimized for the HF range. In the HF range, the portable radio systems provided reliable connections in near vertical incidence sky wave (NVIS) mode between 8 MHz and 9 MHz. This type of transmission using sky waves turned out to work better under the existing conditions than transmission via ground waves.

The portable manpack radios were equipped in the VHF range with laminar antennas with an integrated broadband adapter (30 MHz to 108 MHz). In the HF range, it was possible to use 3 m whip antennas owing to the internal antenna tuning unit.

During vehicle-based operation, 3 m whip antennas were used as well as discone antennas (special antennas for sky waves) for the frequency range from 30 MHz to 90 MHz. In the HF range, the 6 m whip antenna was used for vehicle-based operation and a broadband inverted V antenna with a 9 m mast was used when the vehicle was stationary. This stationary configuration was also deployed at the CJSOTF headquarters in Gabon.

In the operation area in Kinshasa, good results were achieved using VHF point-to-point connections. The R&S®M3TR radios also enable secure point-to-point connections as well as point-to-multipoint connections between specified users – even with all of the users in the same radio network. A secure, high-quality connection was set up and maintained between the two Kinshasa airports situated 13 km apart using the R&S®SECOM -V frequency hopping method.

One very practical feature of the R&S®M3TR is its removable front panel which allows very efficient operation of the radio when secured to the wrist with the radio securely stowed in the backpack. The different backpack models represent another important detail which EID developed for the portable radios plus all of the accessories needed by different military units. The fact is that infantrymen need equipment that is highly functional and capable of tolerating tough conditions.

Overall, the R&S®M3TR multiband radios were successful in this equatorial mission owing to their rugged design, outstanding flexibility, and excellent reliability. The commander of the Portuguese EUFOR contingent confirmed that the radios provided valuable support for command and control (C2) under extremely challenging ambient conditions for radio operations. With their diverse functions and the secure connections provided with R&S®SECOM-V and R&S®SECOM-H, the radios were highly valued by the deployment teams and also by the higher levels of command. The special training provided by EID also made a sizeable contribution to the acceptance and efficient usage of the R&S®M3TR radios.

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