A significant step in maritime communications has been made with the announcement of a partnership to coordinate the development of an innovative hybrid technology that will allow naval vessels to interconnect their combat systems in real time.

The new technology developed in partnership by Atlas Elektronik, Tesat-Spacecom and Synopta will provide a fully network-centric warfare capability for maritime systems.

The system will enhance the security of ships and their crews by allowing operational forces to update their tactical situation pictures without any time lag, thus enabling them to respond immediately to possible dangers and threats.

A high-speed link is provided using hybrid technology involving a radio connection with a very high bandwidth, supplemented by an integrated optical link to offer an extremely high bandwidth.

Managing Director of Atlas Elektronik, Kai Horten, said that this technology represented a quantum leap for maritime communications technology.

“Thanks to this enormous advance in the available bandwidth, we will be able to offer capabilities that have previously not been possible, due to the unavailability of adequate transmission performance,” said Horten.

Chief executive officer at Tesat-Spacecom, Berry Smutny said that technology had already been proven in various space applications.

“This state-of-the-art German technology is unique, and it is already successfully being used for space applications in cooperation with the US Missile Defence Agency,” Smutny said.

The systems for the purpose of interconnecting ships within a particular operational area will already be rolled out this year. In the second phase, a satellite network will be used to connect vessels beyond the boundaries of their operational area.

By Daniel Garrun.