You might have heard of a program called ESSOR, and that Bittium is part of it, but some of you might not yet know what it is all about. The abbreviation ESSOR stands for European Secure SOftware defined Radio, which gives some clues to what it is about. But to understand how the program got started and how it is enhancing tactical communications in Europe, let's go back in time to the first decade of 2000s.
As part of the intensifying defense cooperation and more sovereign operational capability, a few leading European countries decided to start the development of a pan-European tactical level waveform. A new rising technical solution, Software Defined Radio (SDR), was a key factor in starting the development work. It enabled the use of a common software-based waveform while each country could still use their own radio equipment as a platform for the waveform. The goals were set: develop compatibility that can be achieved between different national radios over the air interface, and provide reliable data transfer capability.
A significant motivation for the program was to develop SDR technology knowhow in Europe to maintain a more balanced competitive relationship in the transatlantic cooperation. At the time, the USA was making significant investments to the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program, and it stirred both interest and concern in Europe. The concern was that the investments could lead to a situation where the only available waveforms for European countries would have been developed and managed by the United States.
An equally important motivator for the development work were the EU-, UN-, and NATO-led peacekeeping missions in different parts of Europe, specifically in former Yugoslavia, which were started during the previous decade. During the missions it was realized that the troops were lacking the means to lead the mobile troops and share situational awareness between the participating countries because of incompatibility between the radio systems. This negatively affected the planning and execution of the missions.