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13 Jun 06. Rockwell Collins and Thales, both military communications suppliers with an industrial presence in the US and in Europe, have signed a strategic agreement for the joint development and pursuit of international programs for tactical ground communications.

“By bringing together the strengths of Rockwell Collins and Thales, we will be well-positioned to deliver unprecedented communications solutions for our international customers,” said Greg Churchill, Rockwell Collins Government Systems Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

”With Rockwell Collins, we sustain our customers with advanced capabilities, complementary to their existing tactical communications systems, enabling them to deploy seamless end to end communications in the battlespace,“ added Bruno Rambaud, Thales Senior Vice President, Land & Joint Systems Division.

Already partners in some major next generation military communication programs, Thales and Rockwell Collins are combining their expertise to provide military users with innovative and tailored solutions through a new product line: the FlexNet.

The FlexNet family will include the FlexNet-One compact high capacity single-channel radio and the FlexNet-Four versatile multi-channel radio. Both radios are capable of supporting the FlexNet-Waveform for high data rate ad-hoc networked communications among a set of other waveforms (such as Combat Net Radio waveforms and especially the PR4G and PR4G F@stnet) and multimedia services. Based on an open and secure architecture, compliant with SCA (Software Communication Architecture), the FlexNet radios will accommodate future technology insertions or requirement upgrades. They will pave the way for solutions enabling interoperability for joint and coalition forces.

With these new high data rate and networking capabilities, the FlexNet solution increases the level of information which can be exchanged between users (eg for Command and Control, situation awareness, intelligence), introduces new possibilities of cooperative combat engagement between different units and provides the mobility required by armed forces.

This is a smart move by both companies, for Rockwell, it gives the company not only a strategic foothold in the European land Systems market and it also enables Rockwell to use Thales’s requirement to enter the Software radio market, an area it is found wanting, to co-develop the software radio already supplied to Sweden.

Thales, being outside the JTRS technology development, apart from its Cluster 2 contract, will now be able to offer a full suite of radios, using Rockwell and U.S. technology to fill vital gaps in its radio range.

BATTLESPACE has covered contract awards to many U.S, majors, BAE in Slovakia, GD in Bulgaria and the Netherlands, Northrop in Bulgaria and ITT in Poland. Tadiran is also making ground and has recently been selected in Austria for a multi-billion contract in association with Siemens, which won a major locomotive contract in Israel as part of the package. Siemens will assemble the radios in Austria.

BATTLESPACE is running a feature on Rockwell’s European operations in its June 07 issue.

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