The EADS-Belgacom consortium has signed a contract for the replacement of one of the major building blocks of the Belgian radio communications network ASTRID. Cassidian, which is part of the consortium, and its supplier NEC will be responsible for the installation and configuration of a new microwave network monitoring system, maintenance, and training.

Consortium partner Belgacom will deliver the NEC microwave equipment, installation services and the first line integration and maintenance. Design of the transmission network will be handled under two separate Managed Engineering Services contracts by Cassidian and Belgacom

 The upgrade of key elements of the infrastructure covers the replacement of the microwave transmission network (provincial backbone), which connects the majority of the antenna sites (TETRA base stations) of the nationwide network to the switches, and the multiplexer (cross-connect) equipment. The project includes engineering, installation, configuration and integration of the new microwave links in the operational network.

 The nationwide TETRA network currently serves about 75,000 users of all public safety and security services – police, fire, health and ambulance services and several utility and transport companies. The contract is valued at around € 7.4 million for the roll out and the maintenance, with the renewal scheduled to be finalised by 2014.

These important renewal works will enable ASTRID, as a critical communications network operator, to increase service availability for its users by using lower frequencies and to consolidate its infrastructure for future developments by supporting Internet Protocol (IP).