US power company acquires Rafael's electromagnetic pulse-protected radio

The BNET radio is said to be the world’s first commercially available radio of its kind designed to provide communications when critical infrastructures are disrupted by catastrophic EMP events

Photo: Rafael

Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said Wednesday that a leading U.S. power company installed a version of Rafael’s electromagnetic pulse (EMP)-protected BNET radio in December as part of its EMP protection strategy. It was the first commercial installation of a BNET radio, Rafael’s software-defined cognitive radio protected from "Black Sky" hazards and other potential threats, the company said.

A Black Sky hazard is defined as a catastrophic event that severely disrupts the normal functioning of critical infrastructures in multiple regions for long durations. In the event of an EMP, which could be man-made or natural, re-energizing the power grid and restoring critical infrastructure requires a powerful EMP-protected communications platform like BNET, according to Rafael. 

The company says its current FCC-approved BNET radio operates on the land mobile radio (LMR) bands, and can be integrated with other communications platforms such as a private branch exchange (PBX) through the use of session initiated protocol (SIP), addressing the specific requirements of critical infrastructure. 

Rafael is currently working with its U.S. partner, the EIS Council, to expand the LMR operational range of the radio, as well as to provide the nation’s first EMP-protected broadband radio, due to be approved in 2021. 

Amihai Dekel, director of business development at Rafael's C3 directorate, said "This first commercial installation of the BNET signifies a major achievement for us, and it demonstrates our customer's confidence in our unique, patented communication system capabilities. This milestone offers the first scalable resilient communication solution for wide scale catastrophes. The BNET family of radios is a family of software-defined cognitive radios that allow end-users to talk and share data alongside video from all ends of the network over great distances, over several States. We look forward to discussing and sharing the solution with other critical infrastructures leaders."

Scott Blevins, Communications Sector Coordinator at the EIS Council, said "The EIS Council has been working for over five years to develop the Black Sky Communications and Coordination System, BSX, an all-hazards protected communications system designed for critical infrastructure. The BNET radio, an EMP-protected, software defined cognitive radio, capable of voice, data and video communications, operating in the VHF, UHF, L-band and LTE frequency bands with spectrum-sensing capabilities and unlimited scalability, proved to be exactly the technology needed for BSX. While this first commercial installation was limited only to the US civilian Land Mobile Radio (LMR) bands, it represents an important first step as we continue to expand both the reach and the civilian-approved operational capabilities of this ground-breaking radio."  

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