FONET MK 2 - Revolution via Evolution

Photo. WB Group

The WB Group has premiered a developed variant of the proprietary FONET datalink - designated FONET MK 2. However, it is not a successor of the former solution. Piotr Wojciechowski, President of the Management Board at WB Group, stressed that FONET, with 10 thousand examples employed around the world, is the most popular solution of its kind. FONET MK2 also features new functions in a modular format. It may also be connected to existing systems, already installed on the vehicular platforms.

The international premiere of the FONET MK 2 system took place during this year's AUSA conference. It was related to a commercial project pursued and marketed during the said event, as the representatives of the WB Group said. The primary advantage of the MK2 variant stems from the modular nature of the system, as selected modules or the whole system can be implemented on vehicles fitted with the standard FONET system. This does not require any power supply or wiring harness modifications, except for the new elements.

The main benefit here is the acceleration of the initiation of voice communications - these become available just a few seconds after the network becomes active. This is especially relevant when the vehicles are emergency-launched. The higher processing power makes it possible to implement new functionalities: increase of the MELPe 2400 encoded radio channels, increase of the number of encoded voice streams, new functions, such as voice control, "speech-to-text", processing of video feeds from the unmanned platforms or onboard sensors, or recording.

On the left-hand side: MK2 user interface, with enhanced security; right-hand-side: dual clause interface, with separation and mode switching.
Photo. WB Group

The user interface is equipped with a 3.5-inch display, with a 320x240 pixel panel - this provides the user with the ability to display video or organize video conference calls. The modular design of the user control panel is configurable, depending on the needs, both when it comes to functionality, as well as the levels of security. The option of including a Mark 2 panel with enhanced security, or a module with 2 security levels is a novelty here.

Thanks to the above, one headset can be used to connect to separate networks - non-secure, and NATO Secret networks at once, for instance. Both modules are separate - not only when it comes to encoding and transfer of the signal, but also when it comes to a separately shielded power supply and EM security measures. To make it possible to use a single microphone for communications, the panel features two displays and programmable function buttons, and a mode switch, allowing to change the mode of operation.

The system is modular and scalable. High-security systems can be fitted with numerous features enhancing security, such as VPN, VLAN, and SYSLOG that handle encryptions, including embedded firewalls, encryption mechanisms, and the ability to use customer-defined encryption systems. The aforesaid variable confidentiality modes, encrypted interfaces for managing the communications, as well as the self-destruction mode for erasing the data all can be viewed as useful tools

Photo. WB Group

Notably, FONET MK2 is not a concept. It is a solution that has already been tested and showcased during a test programme. It was submitted to be a part of a test programme of ITC solutions for the national command vehicles. There, along with other WB Group's products, it has passed many tests supervised by the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Center for Support of Command Systems (CWSD), Department for Support of Command and Communications (ZWDiŁ), and National Center for Cyberspace Security (NCBC). The solution based around the FONET MK2 suite would be offered in the procurement procedure concerning the ICT system for the National Command Vehicles based on the 8x8 Rosomak platform. The WB Group is also willing to export this solution - both as a new system (FONET MK2) or as a modification of the FONET solutions already in use.