NATO SOF picks U.S. communications system

Aug. 2, 2012 at 11:53 AM
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MONS, Belgium, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The Valence communications system of U.S. company Mutualink Inc. has been selected by NATO as its global SOF interoperable communications platform.

NATO Special Operations Forces Headquarters said the next-generation capability gives warfighters and command-and-control elements a secure communications link across different communications systems that can share real-time.

Information to be shared includes on-the-move intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information, including files, maps, system views and video.

"For NATO SOF, quick reaction time and agile response capabilities are a must," it said. "Often first on the ground in challenging operational environments, harnessing collaborative multinational information and intelligence sharing and seamless communications capability is critical and Mutualink delivers this capability."

Mutualink, which has been deployed in theater, has proven to be a highly effective and reliable system. Prior to deployment, Mutualink's interoperable communications and information sharing solution was extensively tested and evaluated through sponsorship by the U.S. Department of Defense's Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office's Irregular Warfare Support Program.

NATO said Mutualink is a "completely new paradigm" that will enhance security, allow for standardization and improve flexibility and interoperability among all NATO Special Operations Forces. It enables linking with local and international governmental support agencies using existing communications systems, thus aligning with the current and future NATO SOF mission in which missions are multi-dimensional and may involve host nations.

Mutualink is easily transportable and can be set up quickly. Its "agnostic nature enables NATO SOF to opportunistically utilize any IP enabled transport mechanism, including satellite, MANET, high-capacity LOS radio, 3/4G wireless broadband, and terrestrial IP transport networks, NATO said.

"NATO SOF's selection of Mutualink as its interoperable communications platform of choice is very gratifying and we are honored to be entrusted with such an important mission," said Mutualink President Colin McWay. "Many of us having spent time with warfighters on the ground, we know first-hand how critical communications are to the safety of warfighters and ultimate mission success.

"Our system has performed exceptionally well and furnished our warfighters and commanders with a tremendous capability that can assist them in achieving objectives with better situational awareness through quicker information exchange and better real time coordination.

"We owe NATO SOF a debt of gratitude for recognizing Mutualink's capabilities," he said. "It has been through their active leadership and support that Mutualink is now quickly being recognized as a capability that can serve U.S. and coalition partner conventional forces as well."

In other European defense news, the European Defense Agency has completed trials of a system for sensing and countering remote-controlled improvised explosive devices.

The Intelligent Control of Adversary Radio-Communication system is the result of an EDA research project involving a consortium of eight countries: France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Greece, Slovakia and Belgium.

The system was demonstrated to member nation representatives in three scenarios: protection of patrols, of convoys and of infrastructure. Ground robotic vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles were used in the trials.

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