CASSIDIAN’S SMART MOVES IN THE UK
By Yvonne Headington
Nearly three years ago EADS’ Defence and Security division was rebranded as Cassidian; a global company with some 28,000 employees. Cassidian has been examining how its portfolio of products fits within the international market and, during this year’s Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) exhibition at Millbrook (19-20 June 2013), Cassidian’s Max Baldwin told BATTLESPACE how the company views opportunities and requirements within the UK.
“We went through a transformation about two years ago” explained Max Baldwin. “The UK strategy is to have a look at the portfolio we’ve got to find out which part would be useful in this market”. He added that there has been a distinct shift from the “I’ll build it, you buy it” attitude of the past. As the UK’s Armed Forces draw-down from Afghanistan, the focus is now on meeting the demands of future contingency operations.
As an example of the company’s approach, Cassidian took the opportunity at DVD 2013 to preview developments in jamming technology with a system known as SMARTscout. The system is due to feature at the forthcoming Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition (10-13 September 2013) but this was the first time that SMARTscout had been presented to the UK military. The multi-functional jammer, developed in Germany, is currently in service with a Middle Eastern (civil) customer as well as the German military. Max Baldwin is confident that the SMARTscout vehicle protection jammer will stimulate interest in the UK.
SMARTscout introduces the capability to detect and jam specific hostile frequencies. For instance a vehicle-mounted jammer would normally be set to block chosen frequencies, sending out a constant signal. “This jammer” explained Max Baldwin “actually listens for the radio signal and then blocks it specifically – that’s the clever bit.” SMARTscout also has a fixed jamming capability but the responsive jamming technology provides a rapid reaction to particular threats, such as radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (IED).
Furthermore SMARTscout can contribute to the wider intelligence picture. With SMARTscout “you are starting to get a signal intelligence map from a jammer” said Max Baldwin “and normally you would need a completely different set of signals intelligence equipment for that”. In addition, the system only uses power when responding to a signal, allowing for greater operational efficiency in terms of energy use and the amount of equipment deployed.
Mobile Theatre Communications
Cassidian is also looking to generate interest in the innovative Mobile IP (internet protocol) Node concept which was demonstrated at DVD for the first time. The company describes Mobile IP Node as a “world first in communications technology” which can improve in-theatre voice, data and video communications. The system works in much the same way as a mobile ‘phone network, selecting the optimum route for relaying data, based on a variety of environmental and technical factors (such as geography, weather and bandwidth availability).
The wireless technology, housed in a case no bigger than a cereal box, is embedded within deployed assets (such as vehicles). Thus Mobile IP Node can be deployed instantly without the need for establishing a network in-theatre. Importantly, the system includes Cassidian’s Ectocryp Yellow technology. Max Baldwin suggested that one could describe Mobile IP Node as a router with an encryption function – or the other way about.
Mobile IP Node was originally developed as part of the £64m industry-led ASTRAEA (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment) project which is aimed at testing technologies which could allow unmanned air systems to fly in non-segregated air space. In November 2012, the company was awarded the Telecommunications category Innovation Award by the Institute of Engineering &Technology (I