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Military vehicle communications 360° situational awareness

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Figure 4: Image courtesy of Hensoldt - Boxer armoured vehicle fitted with Hensoldt's SETAS system

Figure 4: Image courtesy of Hensoldt - Boxer armoured vehicle fitted with Hensoldt's SETAS system

At CODAN | Domo Tactical Communications (DTC) we believe the integration of mesh technology into military vehicle systems, both traditional and unmanned, transforms the dynamics of modern warfare. While challenges exist, the benefits in terms of enhanced mobility and agility for improved communication and coordination is a promising avenue for military innovation and effectiveness on the battlefield.

Introduction to MANET Technology in Military Communications

The advent introduction and wide adoption of MANETs has are creating a complete paradigm shift in contemporary military communications. Departing from conventional networks, MANETs stand as a disruptive and transformative force, introducing an unparalleled level of adaptability and flexibility to the operational task force.

In the face of dynamic and unpredictable environments, these independent networks empower military personnel to communicate amongst themselves, with military vehicles, and with headquarters, seamlessly. The fusion of an IP Mesh network's scalability with the reach of satellite communications over extended distances establishes a cutting-edge solution for the modern battlefield. This amalgamation ensures not only low latency but also facilitates beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) real-time situational awareness, marking a pivotal advancement in military communication technologies.

Figure 1: Typical military communication groups

Figure 1: Typical military communication groups

How MANETs differ from traditional Military Communication Networks

In the traditional military communication setup, infrastructure plays a pivotal role. However, MANETs redefine the rules by creating decentralized networks where nodes function both as end points and repeaters. This agility enables military vehicles to communicate directly with each other and in combination with ground patrol personnel, and/or various types of unmanned vehicles, forming an interconnected web that adapts to the fluidity of mission-critical scenarios.

Security Challenges and Solutions in MANETs for Military Applications

While MANETs offer unparalleled flexibility, they also present unique security challenges, often operating in resource-constrained environments, making it difficult to implement secure security measures without compromising performance. The absence of a centralised authority makes these networks susceptible to various threats and requires robust encryption measures to ensure their security. In this context, advanced encryption protocols such as Advansced Encryption Standard (AES) and Interference Avoidance Scheme (IAS) become critical components to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive military communications.

DTC's unique IP mesh waveform family, MeshUltra™, is a self-healing capability allowing the network to adapt to changes in topology, addressing the challenge of dynamic network structures in MANETs. The high token update frequency enhances the speed of network entry, ensuring that routing data is promptly updated, addressing the challenge of rapid changes in network topology.

The wide frequency capabilities of DTC's MeshUltra™ waveform family operating at low power consumption, makes it less susceptible to interference and improves the overall resilience of the network. As a result, this technology ensures making it significantly more challenging for adversaries to exploit vulnerabilities in specific communication channels.

The ability of DTC's MeshUltra™ to operate with additional infrastructure AES encryption provides security of military communications, ensuring that sensitive information is protected and compliant with international regulations.

In summary, the combination of advanced encryption protocols, adaptive network management, and innovative technologies such as MeshUltra™ is crucial for addressing the security challenges in MANETs for military applications. These solutions aim to provide confidentiality, integrity, and resilience in the face of dynamic and potentially hostile environments.

Scalability & Performance Optimisation Strategies in MANETs

Ensuring optimal performance in MANETs is a multifaceted challenge. Scalability, reliability, and low latency are paramount for military operations.

As military operations can vary widely in scale, the scalability of mesh networks is crucial. The technology should be adaptable to both small reconnaissance units, large, mechanised divisions and supporting unmanned vehicles.

DTC works in partnership with many vehicle system developers who are exploring strategies to develop optimised solutions that provide reliable and secure data between multiple platforms, vehicle types and other assets.

Due to the flexibility in DTCs portfolio of SOL8SDR radios, system solutions can be configured to suit the deployment requirements of the end user. This may include using ground vehicles on the move, or in combination with static or unmanned units.

DTCs radios or rebroadcast ground stations provide independent operation to join or leave at any time, providing additional flexibility, reducing susceptibility to disruptions caused by node mobility or failures.

Real-time video voice and IP data links operate on-the move or stationery. Typical high throughput at long range transmission is 28 Mbps @ 10 MHz. The network can operate stand alone or send IP data over public/private networks, e.g., SATCOM if BLOS is a requirement. In addition, the solution can include Overwatch or drones as RF repeaters within the Mesh network.

Integration with Military Vehicle Systems

The seamless integration of MANETs into existing military vehicle communication systems is pivotal for successful deployment. Interoperability considerations are key factors when developing or enhancing the overall communication infrastructure.

An example of this is DTC's collaboration with Hensoldt's innovation team to support their next generation SETAS digital interchangeable system that can be utilised across a multi-vehicle armoured combat unit. The SOL8SDR-H2 and NETNode radios provide the mesh backbone communications links to Hensoldt's SETAS platform that delivers improved capabilities when crews need to operate in fully closed-down situations. IFV personnel need the agility to operate without cognitive burden and maximise interaction when in defending or fighting situations.

Figure 2 shows DTC's NETNode rebroadcast radio connected to Hensoldt's IDV Surveillance vehicle as part of their SETAS system.

Figure 2: DTC NETNode mounted to roof of vehicle

Figure 2: DTC NETNode mounted to roof of vehicle

Figure 3 is a simplified setup of DTCs robust SOL8SDR-H2 2x1W radios delivering secure data links directly into the ground personnels TAK device.

Figure 3: DTC H2 radio with weapon scope and TAK device

Figure 3: DTC H2 radio with weapon scope and TAK device

SETAS excels in the realm of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) detection, providing unparalleled situational awareness with its comprehensive 360-degree coverage. Notably, the integration of fish-eye cameras enhances both visual and thermal coverage, with the potential to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) functions for advanced threat detection and instantaneous alarms. The sensor outputs from SETAS serve a dual purpose — they can be internally displayed for real-time analysis, or they can be harnessed to operate Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

Recent trials successfully connected multi-users in the DTC mesh network, working in conjunction with ATAK software on the SETAS platform. In practical terms, this proves invaluable for a spectrum of tasks, ranging from reconnaissance and mine clearance to providing critical support for dismounted troops. Its multifaceted applications underscore its pivotal role in fortifying military capabilities in an era where adaptability and proactive technssological integratissson are paramount.


In summary, DTC's MANET technology significantly enhances military communications by providing a flexible, resilient, and adaptive communication infrastructure that is well-suited to the dynamic and challenging nature of military operations. Its ability to operate without reliance on fixed infrastructure, coupled with features such as self-configuration and fault tolerance, makes DTCs MANET solutions a valuable asset in modern military communication systems.


CODAN | Domo Tactical Communications is a division Codan Ltd. The group has over 60 years of unparalleled expertise, stands as a global leader in designing and manufacturing premium communication solutions. Renowned for our unwavering commitment to quality and reliability, we cater to military, defence, and security markets worldwide. In the face of complex challenges, our innovative technology solutions empower mission-critical personnel with real-time communication, surveillance, and situational awareness, ensuring operational success in the most demanding environments. With a proven track record in over 100 countries, we don't just provide products; we tailor comprehensive solutions, making us the trusted choice for those who communicate without compromise.

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