Monday 15 July, 2024

Irish Defence Forces to receive new tactical radio systems

Ireland’s Department of Defence has awarded a EUR 76 million (USD 82 million) contract to Thales Group for the supply of modern radio systems for the Irish Defence Forces.

Over 6,000 radios, including SquadNet and SYNAPS radios, will be delivered and will carry coalition waveforms, including the resilient and secure ESSOR broadband waveform recently promulgated as a NATO standard, which will facilitate the flow of information between allies during international coalition operations as required.

The new systems will replace the Defence Forces Tactical Single Channel Ground Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS) radio, which has been in service within the Defence Forces since 1996.

The award of the contract follows a competitive dialogue tender competition, including 5 months of field trials. The first deliveries of radio equipment have already arrived and will continue to be delivered over the coming months with the vast majority delivered by Q1 2026.

“Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin TD, said: “This investment in new tactical radio systems will enable the Defence Forces to rapidly adapt to emerging threats, enhance spectrum efficiency, and support multiple communication standards using software configuration, significantly improving the Defence Force’s communication capabilities and cyber resilience.”

“It also reflects the Government’s commitment to ensuring operational capabilities are maintained and developed to enable the Defence Forces to carry out the roles assigned by Government both at home and overseas and will support the move to “Level of Ambition 2”, as set out in the capability framework devised by the Commission on Defence.”

The SquadNet radio system is compact, lightweight, and easy to use. It offers 24-hour autonomy, which makes it ideal for dismounted infantry. In addition to secure voice communications, location display, and a data sharing option, SquadNet also offers battery recharging and radio programming capabilities. This solution has been notably adopted by the Austrian armed forces.

SYNAPS is based on developments conducted for CONTACT in France, Europe’s largest software radio programme. The contract includes the supply of the entire range of SYNAPS radios: SYNAPS-H hand-held radios for land forces, SYNAPS-V radios for land vehicles and naval vessels, and SYNAPS-A radios for various Air Corps aircraft. This solution has been adopted for instance by the Belgian armed forces.

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