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Tactical radio SYNAPS to act as military ‘nervous system’

Mon 13 Jun 2016

French armed forces

French defence and security company Thales has launched a new tactical software-defined radio system designed for use in collaborative combat.

SYNAPS, unveiled at this year’s Eurosatory exhibition in Paris, is a broadband-based system which aims to improve on the current radios deployed by armed forces, speeding up response times in the field for group communications, and guaranteeing security and connectivity.

The technology is based on the software-defined CONTACT radio project – which has been named the most important advancement in European tactical radio technology. In 2012, the French defence procurement agency (DGA) awarded a €3.5 billion (approx. £2.8 billion) contract to Thales for the supply of advanced tactical radio systems under the CONTACT programme. It is expected to equip the country’s armed forces with the communications technology from 2019.

Developed under the Project Scorpion modernisation programme, SYNAPS creates a shared network – which Thales compared to the web of neurons in the human brain. The company explained in a release today: ‘SYNAPS acts as the nervous system of a military deployment, enabling units to detect threats and share information about the tactical situation in real-time and at high data rates.’

The system is also able to increase bandwidth by to 10 times that of existing systems. This boost facilitates the delivery of voice commands, data, and video, as well as location and tracking information, between land, air and naval forces.

According to Thales, the system will allow ground troops to speak directly with fighter pilots, obviating the need for indirect, and delayed communication through chain of commands.

Thales has said that it is developing SYNAPS for use in land vehicle, hand held radios, helicopters and warplanes.

‘The launch of SYNAPS heralds a revolution in military radio-communications, comparable to the transition from 3G to 4G,’ Marc Darmon, executive VP of secure communication and information systems at Thales commented in the release.

He added: ‘With unparalleled performance, particularly in terms of operational range and protection, SYNAPS will become the central nervous system of military deployments and enhance command capabilities in collaborative combat operations.’

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