At ease! Recruits, in today's lesson we will explore military smartphones and communications from foreign countries.
It's pretty silly to arm your own army with smartphones that can be hacked remotely, which are larger than push-button dialers and are much easier to fold in your pocket. This simple idea did not immediately enter the minds of the Russian military, which is somewhat alarming. But if the state is part of a military bloc with ample opportunities to suppress dissent and obey everyone, including electronics manufacturers, to its doctrine, then you can boo – give out smartphones to your military. Smartphones that can easily survive a gunfight with terrorists, hitting an armored personnel carrier, or briefly dipping into diesel fuel. So what do foreign soldiers play with tetris and other balls?
In 2017, the Finnish company Bittium signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense of this country for the supply Android – Bittium Tough Mobile smartphones to the army.
The smartphone is protected like all the best smartphones – it is sealed to the IP67 standard and rugged to the military MIL-STD-810G standard. From publicly available data, it is known that the smartphone is running Android OS 6.0, and inside it is running the time-tested Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. But it seems that this is only part of the system that the Finnish military purchased. Together with a mobile base tower (based on an armored personnel carrier) and a specialized server, the system begins to encrypt all information, including voice.
For those who do not like to understand the pictures (in this case, the picture is official, from IDEX2017), you can describe everything you see as follows: Bittium offers a comprehensive solution for organizing communications in the army, from a basic cell tower to an ordinary radio station. In peacetime, soldiers will use smartphones on Android, and in wartime – an armored radiotelephone with a bunch of communication channels.
All communication can be referred to as IP telephony. Those. and in the case of Android – a smartphone, and in the case of a radiotelephone for a mortar calculation (pictured above), the signal from the device first goes to the base station, modulates to the desired range and is sent to the final recipient (to another end device). In other words, we can communicate with a cell phone in real time by radiotelephone.
The weaknesses of this solution have been known since time immemorial – this is the base station itself. If there is no way to hack the connection (connect to the line and log in to the central server), then you can always suppress or destroy this connection with a powerful release of electromagnetic radiation. And then, as in the good old days, the soldier will be given signal flags and forced to climb a pine tree.
In our state, there is a kind of dualism in resolving the issue of communication.
On the one hand, senior command personnel (not lower than brigade chiefs of staff) are provided with M-633C Shmel protected telephones, which can be used absolutely safely using even foreign civil cellular networks (more information on this link).
On the other hand, HF and VHF radio stations in different versions reign on the battlefield. A typical representative is the portable radio station R-168-1KE “Kvarts”, which is intended for reconnaissance groups and on flat terrain allows communication at a distance of up to 300 km (if you stretch the dipole antenna on trees). The photo above shows an early modification, but here is its version in equipment:
There is also a third direction, which is worth mentioning, but about which we do not really know anything yet. We are talking about tactical communications that are part of the promising Ratnik complex. Before we go any further, let's recall the peculiarity of our military-industrial complex and the army in the form of an excellent disguise of new technologies. If high army ranks talk about testing new equipment, it means that mass production has begun, if they talk about the beginning of mass production, it means that it is already in service with the troops, if they talk about delivery to military units, it means that the first calculations have taken up combat duty. If they wrote that the range of the weapon is 200 km, then suddenly it turns out to be 500 km, etc. I really like this approach, because such an intrigue can cool even the hottest heads of potential aggressors. So, what do we know about the tactical communications of the Ratnik complex?
The last more or less adequate information came to the media in 2014. It was supposed to give each officer and soldier a protected tablet that would be included in the unit's mesh Wi-Fi network (before platoon). Each tablet could position itself using GPS and GLONASS satellites and connected to biometric sensors on the soldier's body so that the commander could give the command to evacuate the wounded or force him to push up to cheer him up. That's it guys, the information ends there. The photo above shows an early prototype of 2014, and what is happening in this area now, except for the people involved, no one knows.
From open information and personal experience about communication in the army of the Russian Federation, we can say the following – the principle of Mesh-network has always been used, when there is no center, everyone can contact everyone, and no one refused to wire communication either. And in such conditions, a potential adversary cannot destroy communications without physically destroying their users.
P.S. there will be no links to primary sources under this block, because those enterprises that provide communications for the Russian army do not have their own business card sites (for which they are honored and respected).
The Israeli army – the IDF – can rightfully be called one of the most modern in the world. The conditions in which Israel is fighting are contributing to constant modernization. This means that Israel does not conduct military operations in Antarctica or South Africa, and therefore its army does not need universal communications equipment. And this greatly reduces the cost of equipping the army.
It makes it cheaper and simpler so that you can just take a smartphone Motorola, integrate specialized 'military' applications into the firmware, put on rubber armor and give it to a soldier. Yes, geographically, it turns out that the IDF soldiers are always in the zone of stable reception of a cell tower signal – this is a bonus of a tiny state. In case of illegal hostilities in a foreign desert, repeaters are used on armored personnel carriers / infantry fighting vehicles and drones. The photo below shows a rare photo of the IDF fighter's electronic vest.
Friends, what do you think, which model Motorola was the basis for creating 'military Motorola'? Open sources contradict themselves or are simply silent, but a phrase about crypto encryption slipped in the media, which implies the use of a good chipset of the Qualcomm 8xx level.
The vulnerability of such a communication system is obvious – the destruction of the base tower will leave entire units without communication. However, those with whom the IDF is fighting cannot respond at a decent technological level, and for the rest, Israel has nuclear weapons that they will use without hesitation, although they do not have it (understand what you want).
Until 2016, the US military was equipped with Android – devices as part of the 'Android Tactical Assault Kit' program.
It included smartphones of the Samsung Galaxy Note series, and everything would be fine … But in 2016, the US army officially announced that due to constant brakes and lags Android, smartphones are not suitable for it. And immediately announced the beginning of a rearmament program, which was called 'iPhone Tactical Assault Kit'. Pictured below – iPhone 6s in base armor, chest shell and armband shipped separately.
Of the other means of communication, everything is standard – radio stations of various ranges and satellite communications for the command and commanders of reconnaissance groups.
Typical site based
2015 US Army HMMWV
Recently, the military has paid attention to modules manufactured by GoTenna Pro plugged into iPhone, which, using a banal application, turn a smartphone into a radio station. It turns out a mesh decentralized network, and with the help of a connected switching station, the commander can remotely moderate the channel structure. It looks like this:
Photos © Army Recognition
Friends, have you noticed how many MIL-STD-810G protected smartphones were before 2016? It seems that companies like Kyocera were seriously counting on a piece of the American war pie, and after the US chose iPhone, quietly stepped aside, constantly reducing the level of protection and quality of their products.
Conclusions and reflections
It is obvious that the recent ban on smartphones in the Russian army has military-applied significance and has nothing to do with information warfare. Smartphones are firmly tied to the base tower and, if destroyed, turn into useless junk. On the other hand, it's time for our Defense Ministry to think about regimental Wi-Fi, when, in peacetime, soldiers, foremen and officers could contact their relatives, share news and play WoT during their legal rest. Of course, through a filter that could be organized on the basis of a regimental server (discrimination by keywords and phrases). In all other cases, smartphones are absolutely not suitable for warfare. Unless the state itself produces smartphones.
In 10 minutes I am waiting for everyone in Lenin's room to discuss what I have read. Disperse!