Microwave Journal

Cassidian and Astrium provide satellite comms. to French fire and rescue services


March 28, 2013

Cassidian and Astrium Services have successfully completed the final validation tests for their remote solution for linking Tetrapol tactical cells using Astrium Services’ satellite communication services. The aim is to provide operations centres and the departmental fire and rescue services in France with access to dedicated satellite communications that are available 24/7, in particular for crisis situations. At any time and anywhere, it will provide them with reliable means of communication irrespective of the condition of terrestrial networks.

Cassidian’s tactical cell, the 3G Independent Digital Repeater (IDR), is a fully autonomous radio communications solution that can be linked with Tetrapol networks. It allows task forces to communicate in extreme situations and in areas where there is no radio coverage. Up to now, the 3G IDR has allowed autonomous Tetrapol tactical coverage to be created to meet the need for temporarily extending or backing up the Tetrapol network.

The test results have demonstrated that several tactical cells can be remotely linked to extend the tactical radio coverage via the satellite communications service provided by Astrium Services on behalf of the French General Directorate of Civil Security and Crisis Management (Direction générale de la sécurité civile et de la gestion des crises – DGSCGC).

This satellite link can also be used to transmit voice communication and data (terminal geo-location and SMS) from the tactical cell to the control room thanks to an IP interface module Radio Access Gate (AGR-IP). The major advantage brought by this new solution is that, for the first time, it is possible to remotely manage the AGR-IP Tetrapol terminal on the field from the control room via satellite link, to change the communication channel, the type of communication or to select the radio coverage if several are available.

The first operational use of this brand new solution will take place in the spring of 2013, with the installation of the tactical cell (3G IDR and 2G Radio Access Gate) in command post, light radio assistance and communications vehicles and satellite trailers belonging to Civil Security, which will also be equipped with self-deploying satellite equipment supplied by Astrium Services. Other applications using various solutions and types of satellite link from the company are already scheduled, thus paving the way for Tetrapol communications via satellite in theatres of operations all over the world.

As Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Secure Communication Solutions at Cassidian explained: “The remote linking of the Tetrapol tactical cell via satellite is the result of the technical collaboration and active involvement of teams at Cassidian and Astrium Services. Thanks to the expertise of these two entities within the EADS Group, we are now in a position to offer civil security, public safety in France and abroad, and all users of Tetrapol networks an operational solution allowing tactical cells to be remotely linked via satellite in areas which are overloaded or not covered by the PMR network.”