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Technology

Guarana System - A Boost for the Polish Military Communications

Photo. Radmor/WB Group

WB Group’s Radmor S.A. company has recently presented its new Guarana Mobile System for Tactical Wireless Communications, during a press briefing. The system would be demonstrated this year during the MSPO defence industry exhibition in Kielce, and that demonstration would also include the PRDP radio - one of the system’s elements. PRDP stands for Transportable Software-Defined Radio.

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The 4-channel radio platform has been equipped with an autonomous cryptographic module that can process classified data, working with several different communication waveforms, complying with both national, as well as international standards (STANAG), and thus providing high levels of interoperability between the allied comms networks. The modular design also makes it easily adaptable - it may be broadly employed by the Polish Armed Forces. The programme aimed at the development of the aforesaid system is being pursued by a consortium formed by RADMOR, Military University of Technology, and Military Institute of Communications-State Research Institute (led by RADMOR). The financing is provided primarily by the NCBiR (National Center for Research and Development) entity.

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MSTŁB Guarana communications system, along with the Guarana Base WF waveform (GBWF) - a standard for transmission, encoding, and securing radio communications - can be viewed, on one hand, as a result of the previously gathered experiences, tied to the R&D effort concerning the Comp@n radio, or the TYTAN future combat ensemble. On the other hand, it is strongly related to activities led by the Polish Ministry of Defence, within the framework of the ESSOR (European Secure SO-ftware defined Radio) project and its derivatives, the objective of which is to develop security standards for allied communications.

The a4ESSOR company, involving Thales (France), Leonardo (Italy), Rohde & Schwarz (Germany), Bittium (Finland), Indra (Spain), and RADMOR (Poland), currently working on the ESSOR phase 2 (ESSOR Operational Capability 1), has obtained formal approval of the correct development of the ESSOR HDR (High Data Rate) base waveform from OCCAR.

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The ESSOR OC1 project would be finalized with interoperability tests carried out with the use of national software-defined platforms, provided by the partners participating in the programme. Successful finalization of the test programme would confirm the correct implementation of target waveforms on each of the platforms, and yet again authenticate the truthfulness of the ESSOR community assumption, stating that properly designed and software-developed SDR radios made by different manufacturers can effectively work together on the battlefield, using the same software.

Currently, based on the latest available solutions, extra functionalities of the HDR WF waveform are being developed, such as radio-silent operation, or cohabitation-based operations, with several HDR networks working together, being directly adjacent. Ultimate forms of the waveforms would be soon ready to be used by the Armed Forces of the nations engaged in the ESSOR programme. The Base Waveform documentation would become systemic, and well-arranged. Finally, it will probably be shared within the framework of NATO standards, in a form of STANAG.

PRDP radio image.
Photo. WB Group

The GBWF waveform itself allows for transmission, and for securing that transmission, within the framework of nationally-controlled solutions, independent from any external suppliers. This concerns both the use and the potential modification as well. Both matters are of key value in the current geopolitical and military situation. Relevant and indispensable hardware has also been developed.

The MSTŁB Guarana system, thanks to its full programmability and the ability to handle almost any communications standard, makes it possible, ultimately, to establish communication exchanges with a variety of radio types, also ones not manufactured by the Polish manufacturers. This makes it possible to establish secure connectivity with the allied systems, but also with radios manufactured by different companies and operated by the Polish Armed Forces. This integrates and interconnects the islands in the world of military communications.

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The MTSŁB Guarana system includes the following elements, among other pieces:

  1. National, multi-channel, broadband, broad-range PRDP transportable software defined radio, along with the implemented waveforms;
  2. System for managing and generating cryptographic data, consisting of the following elements:
  • Crypto Module Hardware platform for the PRDP radio (MKp);
  • CZK Cryptography Management Center;
  • DDK Cryptographic Data Distributor;
  • NDK Encryption Data carriers;
  • SDR radios management system.

Given the modular nature of the developed Guarana radio platforms, there is an option to tailor their configuration of theirs to a specific set of requirements. For instance, the PRDP radio that would be premiered in Kielce consists of a crypto module, and 4 modules acting as separate radio channels. Using the ESSOR SCA (Software Communication Architecture) framework, the platform allows for porting of more waveforms, and simultaneous use of four implemented comms standards, such as the MANET waveform: ESSOR HDR WF, national GBWF (Guarana Base WF), and KF waveforms covered by STANAG. That allows for safe communications across four systems at once, whereas each of the systems would utilize a separate communications standard.

During the press briefing, the WB Group's representatives also presented a concept of a broadband multi-waveform backpack radio with a cryptography module - offered by RADMOR. This original design has been based on many years of experience and know-how. It is also a modular solution coming in backpack and vehicular variants. It is far more mobile and better tailored for less demanding communication stations than the PRDP transportable radio that has been designed for being used in case of command posts, or JTAC vehicles.

A mock-up of the RADMOR's multi-waveform broadband backpack radio.
Photo. J.Sabak

The PRDP Guarana transportable radio, together with the aforesaid multi-waveform backpack radio, and the handheld personal radios, as well as other backpack radios manufactured by RADMOR altogether make it possible to create a comprehensive system providing effective and secure means of communications across all levels of the command chain.

Article has been written in collaboration with WB Electronics S.A.

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