The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency successfully delivered on 27 November new voice communication equipment for air command and control to the Bulgarian Air Force.
This newly acquired equipment will be used to strengthen national and NATO-related air policing missions, in cooperation with other Nations.
The Agency's Directorate of Air and Missile Defence Command and Control (AMDC2) procured the capability from a consortium formed by CS, Communication and Systèmes and Thales Norway.
NCI Agency General Manager Kevin J. Scheid said: “This voice communications system will modernize Bulgaria's capabilities, enabling the country to support modern complex missions. This project is critical for surveillance and control of NATO airspace."
Bulgaria's Deputy Minister of Defense Lt Gen Atanas Zapryanov said: “Thanks to the professionalism of the Agency's team, the procurement of the Voice Communication System has been successfully completed. It is ready to be put into operational mode. This system provides high tech equipment for a network enabled capability."
Bulgaria's Air Force Commander General-Major Tsanko Stoykov said: “The Voice Communication System (VCS) provides us with new capabilities to have voice communications with the aircraft in the air as well, as with all NATO Air Force Command and Control Centres. This system will contribute to the so much desired modernization process of the Bulgarian Air Force and to our capabilities to conduct complex tasks and missions on a regional and global basis."
Scheid also thanked the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence and the contractor for their excellent coordination with the Agency.
The handover of the equipment to the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence was witnessed by representatives from the Bulgarian Air Force, the consortium and the NCI Agency.
The new equipment, which supports telephony, voice loops and radio, makes it easier to increase situational awareness with other NATO and Partner Nations. With the new capability, an operator can use the same workstation to control aircrafts via radios connected to the system, make secure and non-secure telephone calls, and use voice loops.
Through this effort five Nations, including Bulgaria, will receive an updated solution based on equipment Lithuania received in 2017.
In addition to Lithuania and Bulgaria, Iceland and Latvia also have the new equipment, which is used in an operational environment. The capability will be delivered to the final two Nations, Romania and Estonia, in 2020.