Our Memories

We would like to share our memories with you...

  The genesis
EID was established on the 8th of June, 1983, being the first R&D company ever created in Portugal, under the sponsorship of the Portuguese government. This new company was built on the basis of a team of skilled, young electronics and telecommunications engineers previously working together in the R&D department of a private-owned, Portuguese industrial group. Besides this group, EID had two more shareholders each one with 25% of the capital, which amounted to a total of €1 million.

With the support of the Portuguese Ministry of Defence (MoD), the above-mentioned team accepted the challenge to develop a range of products as required by the ongoing modernization programme of the Armed Forces, in terms of communications. Such option propelled the in-house consolidation of state-of-the-art technologies, enabling the company to develop strong competences, internationally recognized, in the field of military communications.

This landmark was the beginning of a close and lasting cooperation with the Portuguese Armed Forces, which was instrumental for the future of the company.


  The first projects
The Portuguese Navy promoted, in the mid 70’s, the development and production in Portugal of coastal radio-beacons using solid-state radio frequency linear power amplifiers. This first project was quite successful and led to further contracts for the development of 1kW and 400W HF transmitters, also with solid-state technology. Eventually, these radios equipped all the Portuguese Navy ships and shore stations.

  The microprocessor revolution

EID was one of the first companies in Portugal to use microprocessor-based technology in its products, such as: process control systems for industrial plants, information panels for railway stations and the CEG2200 LF/MF/HF radio receiver, which completed the family of the above-mentioned HF equipment.

  The early 80´s
The beginning of the decade saw the kick-off of two important development programmes: the PRC-425 VHF tactical transceiver and the first generation of the Integrated Communications Control System (ICCS), devoted to the automation and management of warship communications. Simultaneously, the first steps were made in the area of telephone stored program and digital switching technology.

From 1983 onwards, the PRC-425 tactical radio was sold by the thousands to the Portuguese Army, in both man-pack and vehicular versions. The ICCS prototype, featuring circuit switching, equipment remote control and ACP127 message handling, was field tested in 1985 on board Roberto Ivens frigate. She was one of the first NATO ships equipped with a fully integrated communications system, her performance being so prominent that she was frequently assigned the task of communications flagship when incorporated in NATO forces. ICCS was then considered one of the most advanced systems available in the worldwide market.

  Ongoing innovation
In 1987 EID launched CX400, a digital PABX entirely developed by Portuguese engineers, under the framework of NATO’s Science for Stability programme. This paved the way for a capability build-up in this field, enabling the continuous evolution of the product and also the development of new solutions, targeting the private market as well as telecommunications operators. The development of ICC-101, an intercom system for armoured vehicles, was also concluded in 1987.

One year later, following the perceived technological trends, EID decided to invest in SMD technology, installing the appropriate tools and ensuring adequate training to its personnel. Such investment, quite huge at the time, led to a technological breakthrough in terms of manufacturing process and product miniaturization.

 

For the first time in Portugal, EID developed an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) to be used on time-division multiplexing switches for the purpose of time-slot processing, enabling a significant size and power consumption reduction. The use of this technology was then extended to radio equipment and naval systems.

  From ISDN to lasers

 

The advent of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) in the early 90’s propelled the upgrade of the PABX launched in 1987 to cope with the new market demands in terms of integrated voice and data services. An incursion was also made in the area of shooting simulators based on laser technology, used by the Portuguese Army for training purposes.


  Strategic communication networks

The modernization of the communication networks of the Portuguese Armed Forces took place in the early 90’s under the framework of contracts awarded to EID. Two complex programmes, called SINCOMAR (Navy) and SICOM (MoD) were brought about, encompassing a diversity of technologies: digital data and voice switching, transmission, message handling and telecommunication network management, enabling monitoring of the system components, their surrounding environment, statistical traffic analysis and management of maintenance resources.

  The smallest hand-held military radio in the world

  EID managed to design and launch, in 1991, the smallest and lightest VHF hand-held ruggedized radio in the world – the PRC-501. This equipment has been extensively used by the Portuguese troops involved in NATO peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, Angola and Mozambique. It shall be noted that the Brazilian army adopted the PRC-501 transceiver as a standard, a technology transfer programme being enforced to enable its production, assembling and testing by the local defence industry. In addition, the underlying technology was transferred to a NATO partner.

  The Vasco da Gama class frigates

The third Vasco da Gama class frigate (Meko 200PN type) was commissioned in 1992. In this project, EID played the role of communications system integrator. Besides delivering radio communications equipment and ICCS (2nd generation), the company was responsible for the overall system engineering, setting to work and testing, including EMI/EMC studies and cooperation with the shipyard in the definition of the topside arrangement. The worldwide visibility of this shipbuilding programme opened the doors for the international market. In fact, and in spite of tough international competition, the first ICCS export contract was signed in 1993. The system was successfully installed on-board the Spanish Navy’s Patiño replenishment ship two years later, featuring a completely new, windows-based user interface (3rd ICCS generation).

  1994-1996: new partners
A substantial change in the shareholders structure occurred in 1994. Two new partners (INDEP, a state-owned enterprise and EDP, the Portuguese power production and distribution company) joined the company, enabling a raise of the shareholders capital to around € 8,7 million.

In the very same year a new generation of message handling system entered into service. This new, fully automated, computerized system was a result of a software development effort of about 40 man-years and was indeed the first project in Portugal based on ADA software language, at the time standardized by the USA Department of Defence.

With the purpose of implementing an integrated, strategic and coordinated management of the defence industries, the Portuguese government decided to create EMPORDEF in 1996. This new holding company replaced INDEP and thus became EID’s biggest shareholder.

  Enlarging the horizon
Over the years, through the involvement in numerous projects, EID acquired large experience and know-how in the design and implementation of C3I systems. As a consequence, the company was a front-runner in the public tenders for Portuguese main harbours Vessel Traffic Systems. In fact, in 1998, EID won 3 out of 4 of those tenders and is still today in charge of the maintenance of the Lisbon, Leixões and Setúbal systems.


The PRC-502, an upgraded version of the VHF hand-held radio, was also launched in 1998, together with the VRC-301 150 W HF tactical transceiver. As far as naval communications are concerned, the 4th generation of ICCS, incorporating state-of-the-art transmission and switching techniques, became fully operational on board Spanish, Dutch and Thai warships.

Emphasis shall be also given to Military Message Handling Systems (MMHS): EID developed and installed a complete line of products complying with STANAG 4406 Ed. 1 (MTA, UA, MS and gateways) and providing for message switching, local distribution from and to the end users and gateways for connection to ACP127 networks.

 

Following a strategy of technological leadership, the company decided to start the development, in cooperation with Rhode & Schwarz, of a new generation of tactical radios, whose concept evolved from a VHF only, frequency hopping radio to a state-of-the-art multi-band, multi-role software programmable equipment: the PCR-525 combat net radio. Launched in 2005, this equipment is currently in production, having become the cornerstone of the Portuguese Armed Forces tactical communications system.

 

By the end of the century, EID deployed a secure communications network enabling interconnection between Portuguese embassies and consulates all around the world and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lisbon.


  Shareholders reconfiguration

A new shareholders structure was wrapped up in 2000, when Rohde & Schwarz joined EMPORDEF and EFACEC. The share capital was then increased to € 11 million.

By the same time and due to the permanent evolution of technology, ICCS was upgraded in order to remain a competitive, state-of-the-art solution. The 5th system generation, based on a distributed architecture supported on a redundant fibre optic network, was launched in 2000. This new version was designed to equip the Dutch and Spanish navies flagships: De Zeven Provinciën and Álvaro de Bazán class frigates.

 

The following year, EID’s Quality management system was ISO 9001 certified


  New logo, new products

 

The company adopted a new logo in 2001. With reminiscences of the former one (both show stripes), the set of different shapes used and the shades of blue give the new logo a touch of modernity, harmony and reliability. Following the successful, joint development of the PRC-525, the technological partnership with Rohde & Schwarz gave rise to a new family of HF transceivers and receivers that equipped ships and shore stations of the Portuguese Navy, replacing the equipment supplied by EID in the 1980s.

 


 
The second generation of MMHS (Military Message Handling System), in line with the second release of STANAG 4406, was brought about in 2007. The very same year, the company launched the ICC-201, a new version of vehicular communications systems featuring, besides the typical voice and data switching, Voice over IP, radio remote control, IP routing and Ethernet switching.  These systems can be found on board the Pandur type armoured vehicles used by the Portuguese Armed Forces, being currently sold also to foreign markets, namely in the Middle East.

The development of a new generation of field digital switchboards and field telephones was completed by mid 2008. Surprisingly, the first supply contract of these units was not signed with the Portuguese Armed Forces, but with the Army of Malaysia. The equipment has also been adopted by Armies of other countries, such as, for instance, Egypt, Bangladesh, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.


  ICCS - 50 systems supplied
 

EID was awarded in 2009 the contract to supply ICCS to the first batch of the Royal Navy’s River class offshore patrol vessels. With this contract, the company reached an important landmark: the 50th warship being equipped with ICCS.

By this time the company began to participate regularly in international defence events and exhibitions, which definitely contributed to increase its conspicuity in the international market.


  Setting up complex systems

  The contract to provide BRASS (Broadcast and Ship Shore), a system allowing data exchange between land and ships using HF communications was signed with the Portuguese Ministry of Defence in 2010. Subsequently, EID deployed NAVTEX, a system to broadcast meteorological information to ships sailing off the Portuguese coastline (2013) and the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety at Sea) system, concluded in 2015.


  Inflating the briefcase: costumers, products

2012 saw the inclusion of three new members to the club of ICCS users - the navies of Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia – as well the launch of the first member of the TWH family of personal radios, key elements of the soldier of the future equipment. AQAP210, the NATO quality certification, was granted to EID also in 2012.

 

The following year, the design of ICC-251, a compact vehicular intercom system, also suitable for small crafts, was completed and the product entered the production phase.

 

By the end of 2014, EID lauched the 6th generation of ICCS, an IP-based concept with multiple, advanced new features. This version will equip the Multipurpose frigates of the Portuguese, Dutch and Belgian navies, under a common contract awarded to EID in the beginning of 2015.  The scope of this project also includes the modernization of the Vasco da Gama class frigates and the HNLMS Rotterdam.

 

 

The number of ships equipped with ICCS increased to over 120. The Philippine Navy was welcome to the ICCS users group, now composed of 11 nations. The IP-capable version of the CD-116 field switchboard was also launched in 2015. Up to now, EID already supplied over 500 field switchboards and 7000 telephone sets to different foreign customers.


  EID, a Cohort plc company

 

In June 2016, EID was acquired by Cohort plc, the UK-based independent technology group. The acquisition provided both parties with the ability to offer a wider range of new and complementary capabilities to defence and security customers worldwide.

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