Airbus Defence and Space releases dual TETRA-LTE smartphone style radio

Airbus Defence and Space released a dual TETRA/4G LTE device today (24 May 2016) in the shape of its new Tactilon Dabat smart radio. The rugged device, which looks like a commercial full-screen mobile device with external antenna, integrates both a fully rugged smartphone and a complete TETRA handheld radio in one form factor.

The LTE part of the Dabat is designed for data only. Voice works via TETRA. However, thanks to applications which run on the Dabat, users are able to exert push-to-talk over LTE.

The Tactilon Dabat resists shocks, water and dust like any TETRA radio. It also offers the multi-purpose buttons of Airbus Defence and Space’s other TETRA terminals, such as the emergency and push-to-talk (PTT) buttons.

“Tactilon Dabat is the latest result of our close cooperation with public safety organisations for over 30 years,” said Olivier Koczan, Head of Secure Land Communications at Airbus Defence and Space. “Such organisations expect communication devices, which incorporate mission-critical voice, video and data functions. They also want to use applications and share multimedia information. Tactilon Dabat is designed to combine this for professionals.

Just the beginning

Public safety systems are just beginning the transition to broadband 4G LTE technology, but traditional narrowband two-way radio systems are expected to continue for many years yet with considerable regional variations.

The big debate among device manufacturers has been whether to maintain discreet rugged TETRA and 4G devices or combine the two – and if the latter, is there enough need and appetite in the market among end users for dual radio devices? And if so, should the form factor be traditional ‘brick’ two-way radio in appearance, or should the adopt commercial smartphone styles?

In this instance, Airbus has gone for the commercial smartphone approach. The large 4.7-inch touch screen is designed for using smart apps, and users are also able to handle it while wearing gloves. The TETRA module offers all the functionalities once only found in TETRA radios. The Tactilon Dabat is interoperable and can work on any standard TETRA network.

In addition to the push-to-talk button and the touch screen, users benefit from a long-lasting, removable and rechargeable battery ensuring that they stay connected during long incidents. The audio processing is designed for professional operation and enables loud and clear voice communication.

Front and back cameras allow images to be captured. Moreover, these images can be shared with TETRA groups in a controlled, safe manner. The device can be worn on the lapel in order to capture videos and send them to a control centre or to colleagues.

The Tactilon Dabat is rugged and both dustproof and waterproof with Ingress Protection ratings IP65 and IP67. All information within the Tactilon Dabat is encrypted and protected against threats.

“Tactilon Dabat is a completely new type of device. It combines the advantages of a rugged smartphone and a fully functioning TETRA radio. We believe that professionals appreciate it,” said Eric Davalo, Head of Strategy, Solutions Portfolio and Engineering of Secure Land Communications at Airbus Defence and Space.

The Tactilon Dabat will be presented at the Airbus Defence and Space stand D 42 in hall 8 during the Critical Communications World (CCW) 2016 exhibition in Amsterdam from 31May to 2 June 2016.

Image Credit: GaudiLab / Shutterstock

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.