Military communication testing

Military communication testing

Reliable test and measurement solutions for design, production and maintenance of high-end radio devices

Robustness and reliability are key requirements for military, tactical and law enforcement radios, as voice and data communication, geolocation, navigation and surveillance need to remain operational in very demanding conditions. Testing these high-end radios require very accurate instruments to verify single analog and digital components, as well as automated all-in-one radio testers to verify military communications system performance.

The military communications segment uses handheld or onboard radios, data links and secured networks, military wired buses and sonobuoy transmitters, among others. Instruments used in this segment are required to cover a wide range of applications and complex technologies. They need to target higher frequencies, increased bandwidth and must allow interoperability and coexistence testing (between, for instance, secured waveforms, Wi-Fi, 4G, LTE, and 5G). Additionally, they must allow evaluations and performance testing for devices with increased transmission ranges and throughput with lower size and energy efficient hardware.

Operating military radio communications devices under hazards of war or during disaster relief requires high-end technological compliance in terms of QoS, reliability, interoperability, environmental robustness, performance and security requirements. Radio test sets and adjacent instruments from Rohde & Schwarz allow automation of radio qualification according to international standards, and customization for private or national security standards.

Test and measurement solutions from Rohde & Schwarz enable flawless performance and reliability on every level. Our portfolio offers class-leading solutions from the testing of assemblies and components, up to the verification of a complete radio communication system and parallel testing. Moreover, Rohde & Schwarz radio testers offer capabilities for standards qualification and autotuning of multiple radios at the same time during production or maintenance.

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In-focus topics


New requirements for high-data rate network-centric operations, robust command and control communication and data driven situational awareness is driving 5G technologies into military and first responder applications. Learn more about how to test the robustness of communication systems and verify performance in every scenario.

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HF communication

HF is not only still relevant, but has been making a comeback in recent years, particularly in the area of both local and global communications. Learn more about the technology behind HF and related Rohde & Schwarz solution.

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MILCOM testing solutions

Secure waveform development and test

Streamline waveform verification throughout integration with desktop design environments such as MATLAB® and perform waveform prototyping and testing in hardware.

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Radio qualification and testing

Test and verify your final product with a compact radio tester for analog and digital radios. Leverage high-performance RF generator, RF analyzer and arbitrary waveform generators (ARB) in a single device.

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Military component, antenna and battery testing

Ensure no loss and proper operation when testing your battery life, power management components and antenna - especially in future military communications using LTE or 5G. Confirm compliance with the expected performance, based on the intended use of the radio.

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Digital design testing

Signal Integrity and power integrity are of fundamental importance in software defined radios (SDR), whose increased integration and complexity demand consistency in design debugging to evaluate impact of cross-talks and other signal deviations.

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Military bus protocol testing

Wired military communications are essential for the performance of aircrafts, vehicles or ships. Learn how to test the performance and robustness of bus protocols such as ARINC, MILBUS or CAN bus or communication protocols such LTE, WCDMA, GSM, WLAN or BT.

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Featured content

Webinar: Practical Guide to RF testing secure radios

Join this webinar to learn how you can conduct radio frequency measurements in the lab and on the field with test solutions from Rohde & Schwarz.

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Webinar: Testing secure radios in time, frequency and digital domain - part 1

In this webinar you'll discover how to conduct radio-frequency measurements in the lab, and in the field, with leading-edge test solutions from Rohde & Schwarz.

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Webinar: Testing secure radios in time, frequency and digital domain - part 2

Join us in this second part of the webinar series and learn how you can conduct time domain and digital measurements with test solutions from Rohde & Schwarz.

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Webinar: Practical Guide to Digital Testing for Secure Radios

Learn how to validate the performance of low- and high-speed digital interfaces and conduct advanced power integrity measurements.

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Accelerate your developments with R&S®Service

Accelerate your developments with R&S®Service

Take the short route to maximize operational capability. Public safety and military communications evolve rapidly, and so does our service expertise.

Government agencies are constantly auditing budgets and public investments, they are subject to the highest demands in transparency, predictability and optimization. These requirements drive trade-off decisions between increasing internal investments in non-core domains, or relying on trusted partners instead.

This is why Rohde & Schwarz offers you innovative service packages for optimal usage and protection of your test equipment. As a reliable partner, we support you through all phases of the product life cycle and stand by you with a constantly growing portfolio of services tailored to your specific needs.

For secured radio solutions, it may be crucial to your success to perform part of the maintenance work yourself. However, we will be there when you need us. Our service program offers a range of options, from the verification of devices to manufacturer-independent repair.


What means of radio communication are used by today´s military and law enforcement?

The largest part of armed and public-safety forces worldwide still use analogue radios in the band of HF and VUHF band with secured and robust waveforms which enable mainly secure audio exchange. However, the new commercially available radios today offer capabilities beyond analogue audio, using very robust, customized and secured waveforms. They also provide exchange through VoIP, self-positioning/localization, and capabilities to join tactical mission and intelligence networks.

We can classify MILCOM radios by form factor by handheld, portable backpacks and vehicular/onboard., Another commonly used and useful classification is by the scenario where the radios need to operate. Radios that are used by armed forces in warfare scenarios are referenced as military radios, soldier radios, rifleman radios or tactical radios. The radios used in civil environments by law enforcement forces are referred as public-safety radios, land-mobile radio systems, which are in form factor very similar to the handheld radios used by armed forces.

Which frequency range is used by secure radios?

Secure radios as used in Military Communication (MILCOM) Scenarios can use fixed narrow channels or wider frequency hopping channels in the range from 100KHz up to 1GHz. Transmitter power is usually limited to around 5 watts, giving them a limited range, usually 4.8 to 32 km (3 to 20 miles). Older systems use AM or FM modulation, while some recent systems use digital modulation allowing them to transmit data as well as sound.

Why do law enforcement forces not entirely rely on available mobile wireless network devices?

Law enforcement as well as the armed forces communication devices (usually referred to as secure radios or MILCOM radios) need to ensure maximum robustness and endurance ensuring always a minimum viable communication on the field. Modern smartphones are optimized for usability, speed and interconnectivity with open standards. Public forces need radios that are robust and reliable, as the inability to communicate during real operation on the field may translate into severe damages of people or even casualties.

Are current secure radios used by the military or law enforcement analog, hybrid or fully digital?

Most of the radios used by armed forces are analog, nonetheless there is a strong demand to move towards digital; something that is nowadays ongoing in the public safety market. Relatively a largest percentage of radio devices used by law enforcements or firefighters are nowadays digital.

Radio makers are moving their products into the digital world, and they need to ensure that every single very high-speed digital component of the software defined radios is able to meet the new secured digital waveforms’ requirements. Common testing challenges are verification of reference clocks and jitters or compliance verification of signal and power integrity of PLLs, high-speed buses or SerDes components, among others.



Instrument emulation - breathing new life into existing test systems

Integrate state of the art instruments into existing test systems with know-how and the R&S®LegacyPro emulation solution.

Test systems with an expected service life of more than 20 years are common place in aerospace and defense applications. Managing the maintenance and obsolescence of aging equipment in these test systems becomes increasingly critical and costly. R&S®LegacyPro provides a proven software-solution for emulating complex instruments to successfully replace legacy instrumentation within existing test systems.

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