SALAMANDRE: first full-scale demonstration of Thales new wideband HF radio technology

The demonstration was successfully completed on 15 December 2016 in Cormeilles-en-Vexin, north of Paris. An HF radio link was established between Cormeilles-en-Vexin and Toulon and provided two-way communications in real-life conditions over a distance of 730 km with no pre-existing infrastructure. Awarded to Thales in December 2013 by the French defence procurement agency (DGA), the SALAMANDRE(1) advanced study contract is an important opportunity to break new ground in HF technology for military communications.

The SALAMANDRE programme will provide the armed forces with reliable and robust data communications capabilities in an increasingly connected world where all players need to send and receive information as quickly as possible. The new technology offers 8 times more bandwidth than current HF systems and guarantees high-quality connectivity at any point on the planet. The technology paves the way for the provision of new user services (voice, mail, chat, image transmission) and significantly improves resistance to both intentional and unintentional interference. Importantly, HF radio provides an easy-to-use long-distance communications option as a back-up for satcom or when satellite services are unavailable.

The HFXL technology used for these tests overcomes the problems of frequency spectrum saturation, particularly in Europe. Unlike US standard MIL STD 110C, HFXL uses eight separate but non-adjacent HF channels to significantly increase the availability of high-data-rate communications. 

This solution is now being proposed as the NATO standard.