BNET radio system: the answer to multi-platform air forces

BNET for Soldier, Vehicular & Airborne. Image courtesy of RAFAEL

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BNET for Vehicular & Airborne. Image courtesy of RAFAEL
BNET for Soldier, Vehicular & Airborne. Image courtesy of RAFAEL

The BNET software defined radio (SDR) system developed by an Israeli defense contractor is creating interest among various foreign air forces. The BNET will become the main communication system of the Israeli Air Force (IAF). It will be incorporated into both existing and future platforms.

The Israeli-developed BNET system replaces existing radio systems installed in aircraft. According to the Israeli developer and manufacturer, while half in size and weight – it offers a very wide communications channel for data.

According to source at Rafael, the developer, the SDR system optimizes the spectrum utilization, while the use of advanced waveforms deliver high speed networking, supporting live video, image transfer, voice and data.

The Rafael source added that the BNET allows the aircraft to achieve a fully networked communication systems between airborne platforms and ground a naval forces. The system is seamless and it allows the transfer of data including video images in unprecedented rates.

A Rafael source said that the BNET communications systems have been selected by the air forces of Brazil and Colombia and is now competing in other countries. The biggest competition is in India. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to deploy an advanced communications network.

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future forces_3India’s Ministry of Defense has invited several international companies to participate in an international tender to offer software defined radio based communications for the networks’ airborne and ground based segments.

Initial testing began in February 2013. The companies competing in this program are IAI and RAFAEL from Israel, the US company Rockwell Collins and Rhode & Schwartz of Germany.

The use of ad-hoc networking optimizes the spectrum utilization. Reliance on SDR also ensures ‘future-proof’ upgradability and interfacing with legacy systems.

According to RAFAEL, the system they are offering is based on a new family of SDR systems developed by the company in recent years. The system was recently selected by the Brazilian and Columbian Air Forces for airborne networking applications. RAFAEL began the development of BNET as a ground based network, adapting the system for airborne and air-ground applications. RAFAEL plans to transfer considerable elements of the system development and production to India, enabling local partners to share a major part of the program in the current phase and also benefit from its future spinoffs.

According to RAFAEL, the efficiency of BNET as an adaptable network means that future airborne communications could provide the basis for advanced terrestrial communications, supporting land-based applications as well.