The Austrian Ministry of Defence has awarded Thales with a contract to provide the company’s SquadNet tactical radios, marking the second European order after Belgium.
Thales SquadNet radio is a solution that combines networking waveform with built-in GPS, Bluetooth, and programmable encryption to provide communication capabilities. The SquadNet soldier radio is small, lightweight, and has an autonomy of up to 24 hours, location reporting, and data-sharing options.
The SquadNet solution will be equipped with the latest-stage battlefield software system SABRE, which provides real-time situational awareness and enables troops to share critical information, including target data and navigational information.
Integrating Thales SquadNet tactical radios into the Austrian Armed Forces’ arsenal will improve their digital capabilities, enabling troops to communicate more efficiently.
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This month, Thales reported 5.5% of organic growth in sales for FY22. The company has plans to improve recruitment and supply chains to boost sales in FY23.
“With Thales SquadNet, the Austrian Armed Forces will be one of the first European countries to have a highly modern software-defined radio system with full digital signal processing in use, thereby reaching technological leadership in the field of tactical communication.
“As a trusted partner, Thales is very pleased to support the Austrian Ministry of Defensein the modernisation and digitalisation of their armed forces,” says Hannes Boyer, CEO & country director Thales in Austria.
SquadNet the start of slow progress for Austria’s military modernisation?
Neutrality and a lack of military spending have limited Austria’s defence modernisation in the past, with the country having a military budget of $3.4bn in 2023. However, the military budget will rise to $5.8bn by 2028.
In the GlobalData Analyst Briefing – Ukraine crisis a wake-up call for Austrian military spending, aerospace and defence analyst William Davies stated: “The Austrian military lacks modern equipment and significant purchasing capabilities, its domestic defence industry is established and includes companies such as Glock and Schiebel Corp, but despite this, the Austrian military continues to be underfunded and struggling with the purchasing of new equipment.”
The Austrian Ministry of Defence’s decision to award Thales with a contract to provide SquadNet tactical radios is a development and a step forward for the slow process of modernising Austria’s armed forces.