29 March 2021 – NCI Agency, Brussels – The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has awarded a contract to Leonardo S.p.A. valued at nearly 5.3 million EUR to implement the next generation of equipment needed for ship-to-shore communications.
The Broadcast, Ship-Shore and Maritime Rear Link System, or BRASS, is widely implemented in NATO Nations to provide naval forces with strategic radio communications and other services. The system connects national shore stations in order to cover different areas, allowing NATO to satisfy its need for a complete naval radio communications infrastructure without building and operating such an infrastructure on its own.
The aim of this project is to give NATO Standing Naval Forces and national units access to services that were so far only available in the Internet Protocol-based (IP) networks on shore, such as email or chat.
To do this, the Agency will deploy the BRASS IP Enhanced System (BRIPES), included in this new contract. This system will take advantage of new High Frequency (HF) technologies to transform the existing BRASS radio stations into modern beyond line of sight capabilities. Those new capabilities will be interoperable with emerging IP-over-radio technologies and capable of interconnecting different (wireless) networks.
In addition to supporting the maritime community, this new capability will be able to provide services to deployed land forces.
“With this enhanced system, NATO Maritime Commands will be able to command and control NATO maritime forces without relying solely on satellites,” said Michel De Meulemeester, the NCI Agency’s Project Manager for the effort.
Once this project is concluded, BRIPES software will be available to Nations to replace the existing BRASS software. Since this project uses NATO common funding, all Allies can take advantage of this capability without any additional cost.
The project also includes a training package for different users of the software. Self-training and on-site training options will be available.
The contract was awarded in December 2020, and the first kick-off meeting has already taken place virtually.
Photo courtesy NCI Agency