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Research Program 2 - Communications

Information and communications technologies develop rapidly and the development cycles are commensurately short, which is why there is a risk that technologies become obsolete in the foreseeable future. This risk must be countered with new technologically and economically balanced solutions. In order to develop the requisite technological and scientific expertise, technology monitoring studies, research projects and field and laboratory tests are carried out with demonstrators, as part of which a multilateral cooperation network can be utilised.


Communication plays a key role in network-centric operations as well as in collaborations between civilian and military bodies. Reliable and efficient systems for mobile communications networks that allow for proper and timely command control capabilities – even in difficult conditions – are needed.

This research program focuses on developing the competences for the professional evaluation of technologies for future military systems. The aim of the program is to support strategic, operational and tactical decision-making in a degraded information environment and to validate conceptual approaches for future armament programmes.

Owing to the fast pace at which advances are made in civilian mobile communication technologies, testing must be carried on an ongoing basis to determine in which form these can be integrated into a military environment.

As no single technology will represent a comprehensive solution in the future, heterogeneous means of communication with modular architecture will also be taken into consideration. Intelligent and self-organising systems are extremely important if a large number of nodes (sensors, decision-makers and effectors) are to be networked together optimally. This requires the development of an intelligent network management system (incl. routing procedures) for the efficient utilisation of resources.

The increasing communication need for transmitting data and information between mobile systems (as well as command control and sensor networks) calls for the efficient use of limited resources in the electromagnetic field. Using software-defined and cognitive radios, waveforms and frequency occupation are optimised in accordance with their use and the electromagnetic environment. The new antenna technologies, such as smart antennas, can be used to increase performance and spectral efficiency as well as to reduce detectability. Alternative solutions to communicating using satellites include using swarms of drones or HAP (high-altitude platforms).

Competence areas


Research is being carried out into the development of communication networks through the modular integration of relevant technologies. Approaches for the continuous and intelligent optimisation of the allocation of resources are reviewed in accordance with the current requirements and based on the information on the location.

Symbolbild Radar

In addition to optimising the spectral efficiency, smart antennas can reduce detectability and energy consumption. The approach using cognitive radios allows for the frequency bands available to be used in a more intelligent, flexible and economic manner.


The rapid pace of technological developments and the associated short system life cycles of civilian means of telecommunication have resulted in the use of constantly changing new concepts and technical systems for military applications. The development opportunities for military communication networks are reviewed through the continuous integration of relevant and new civilian technologies.

Technology demonstrators

Software Defined Radio

The RECOMS platform from the School of Engineering in Yverdon features a field programmable gate array (FPGA), a Linux processor and a software development environment. This platform is used to carry out research into waveforms and new processes for software-defined radio and cognitive radio in real environments.


An autonomous swarm of microdrones is being used to research broadband communication networks between airborne platforms and/or armed forces on the ground.


The development of expertise is based on a wide network of partners from the professional world, academia, universities and other research institutes in Switzerland and abroad. In order to keep track of skills and capabilities, close contact and an exchange of information is maintained with users and the planning, procurement and test centres of the DDPS.

Research Program Manager

Research Program Manager
Dr. Christof Schüpbach

Our «Communications» research program manager is delighted at your interest!


Science and Technology Field of Study Communication and Electromagnetic Protection
Feuerwerkerstrasse 39
CH-3602 Thun
+41 58 468 28 32

Research Program Manager

Dr. Christof Schüpbach