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Major trends in future tactical communications networks

Modern tactical communications operations require greater interoperability across nations according to NATO’s VHF/UHF Waveform Standardisation Group

In an interview with Defence IQ, Dr Phil Vigneron, the Canadian National Representative to the VHF/UHF Waveform Standardisation Group at NATO, pinpointed the major trends in military tactical communications. According to Dr. Vigneron, one of the major shifts in army communications is the requirement for greater interoperability between soldiers of different nations. Technicians and engineers need to develop the latest technologies such as software defined radio (SDR) in order to enable greater communication across nations and languages in order to meet the fast-evolving requirements of modern operations and joint tactical communications.

In the interview with Defence IQ, Dr. Vigneron states that it is no longer sufficient for soldiers to only communicate with people of their own chain of command. ‘New NATO operation concepts […] really require soldiers’ radios to really communicate with each other […] and this is to share situational awareness and information in order to help enforce tracking, promulgate photos and things like that.’

In order to create interoperable networks, modern radios will need to meet a new standard, which includes greater development of software defined radios and SDR receivers. However, other contingents will rely on older legacy systems. Existing national waveforms need to be supplemented, ostensibly by multinational waveforms, and need to accurately provide crypto functions. Some legacy equipment will need to be replaced and some will need retrofitting, but ultimately NATO will be responsible for providing a clear framework for joint tactical communications.

Dr. Vigneron will be speaking at Defence IQ’s 3rd Annual Tactical Communications conference, which will be taking place 11 – 13 April, 2011, Le Meridien, Piccadilly, UK. He will be discussing issues with current capabilities with other forces, NGOs, private security operations and other actors in the battle space. Other themes at the conference will include battlespace spectrum management, Commercial Off The Shelf Radio (COTS) options and operational feedback from NATO and friendly nations. If you would like to listen to the full Defence IQ interview with Dr. Vigneron, please visit For more information about the event or if you would like to get involved, please visit


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