Name: Argos

Text: Argos
Thuraya Interception L-Band System

In a world of crisis and conflict, and as part of measures to
fight crime and terrorism, the interception and analysis of
satellite communication has a significant role to play. Thanks
to the analysis of communication content and networks and
the identification of relevant interrelations, military forces and
intelligence services are able to recognise dangers early and
take appropriate action to combat such dangers and fight
criminal activity.

The introduction of satellite communication–which enables
telephone calls to be made and data to be exchanged from
anywhere in the world–has led to a worldwide communication
revolution. The resulting communication channels are used
intensively by persons and organisations that are of interest
to intelligence services, armed forces and police authorities.
Consequently, such channels must be subject to analysis
using modern detection systems.
The possible applications and the rapid increase in users of
the Thuraya satellite communication system have made the
procurement of suitable reconnaissance equipment essential.
The increase in the coverage area as a result of additional
Thuraya satellites has made this need even greater.

About Rheinmetall Defence
Rheinmetall Defence is the international leader in the field
of Thuraya and Inmarsat satellite intelligence and a longstanding partner of military organisation and intelligence
Rheinmetall Defence has been developing and delivering
systems for the reconnaissance of satellite communication
connections since the beginning of 1990. At present, over
40 tactical and more than 10 strategic intelligence systems
are in use by our customers around the world.
Rheinmetall Defence is part of the Rheinmetall Group and,
with approx. 6,800 employees, has a worldwide turnover of
€1.4 billion.


System Architecture
The Thuraya Interception L-Band System ARGOS consists of
the following subsystems:
Antenna Subsystem:
RF signal acquisition and down conversion
Sensor Subsystem:
IF signal digitisation, data demodulation and decoding
Data Processing and Storage Subsystem

Technical Data (Basic Configuration)
Antenna Subsystem
L-Band antenna
– Flat Panel 90 cm x 90 cm
– Lightning protection
Digital down converter (L-Band)
– 34 MHz Bandwidth
(max. 1088 Thuraya frequency channels)
– Automatic Level Control
Time reference
– GPS antenna (with lightning protection)
– NTP Server
Sensor Subsystem
Programmable Multi-Channel Receiver
– Digitisation of all L-Band frequency channels
Signal Processing Unit
– Demodulation and decoding of 102 L-Band
frequency channels
Data processing and Storage Subsystem
Server for data processing and intermediate storage
Link to the strategic Thuraya Interception System ARES
Power Supply
115 – 230 V AC
50 – 60 Hz
Approx. 1.5 kW

19“ rack
Height 0.8 m
Ruggedised version
– Shock and vibration proof
– Air-conditioned
Multi-level filter to reduce the amount
of data acquired by the system
– For use of network connections with
limited bandwidth
– To reduce the number of sessions to analyse
Increase of the L-Band channel in steps
of 136 frequency channels per upgrade
– To monitor additional Thuraya frequency channels

Time reference
Downconverter L-Band
Broadband Frontend
102 L-Band traffic channels
Data/Storage Server
Uninterruptable Power Supply


ARGOS – Maritime

ARES – Strategic System

ARGOS – Shelter

ARGOS – Vehicle Based


Key Features
The modern interception system, ARGOS intercepts calls from
Thuraya L-Band downlink channels in selected, usually remote
spots, thus increasing the coverage area of the stationary
ARES interception system. Depending on the position of the
L-Band antenna, up to six adjacent spots in addition to the
centre spot, as well as any further spots, can be intercepted.
ARGOS can be used both in combination with the strategic
ARES system or in a standalone mode. On connection to
ARES, information is compressed and forwarded to the stationary system via a WAN link (e.g. VSAT) and compiled into
a complete session with the C-Band data in order, for instance,
to acquire and evaluate an entire duplex telephone conversation. Should the data link be disconnected, the acquired
data is temporarily stored in the integrated storage system and
then automatically forwarded to the strategic system once the
link has been re-established. Multi-level filters can be used
to reduce the amount of data forwarded to the strategic
system. ARGOS can operate in standalone mode without
supervision. The system does not require its own decryption
To extend ARGOS into an independent interception system,
a decryption unit and PC workstation can be easily added to
the system, thus allowing the reproduction and evaluation of
the acquired information on site. The software configuration is
modular and ranges from the reproduction of speech, fax
and data calls, to link analysis, OCR and speech recognition.

Thanks to the system’s modular design, several ARGOS spot
beam sensors can be connected to the strategic system ARES.
ARGOS can be sized to the amount of Thuraya traffic expected
in the targeted areas. The basic configuration allows 102
frequency channels to be monitored with potentially more
than 600 simultaneous telephone conversations. The channel
capacity can be increased in steps of 136 frequency channels
in each case. The use of state-of-the-art DSP and FPGA
technology allows ARGOS to be housed in a spacesaving
portable 19“ rack. The compact and modular design offers
major advantages in terms of life-cycle-cost, weight, required
space and electricity and climatisation, etc..
Depending on the scenario, ARGOS may be installed as
either a stationary or mobile system (vehicle, container or
vessel). Optionally, the system can be equipped with an additional L-Band receiving unit to monitor the satellite uplink
(mobile to satellite). Then, the equipment can be used as a
mobile tactical L/L-Band system for the interception and
localisation of Thuraya terminals in the area of operations
(ARTEMIS system).
RDE has a proven competence of providing complete turnkey systems including all the corresponding infrastructure,
installation, commissioning and training. Existing components, such as customer-specific analysis software, can be
easily integrated into the system. RDE offers maintenance
and support contracts, tailored to customer requirements,
during the utilisation phase.



Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH · Brüggeweg 54 · D-28309 Bremen
Tel. +49 421 457-01 · Fax +49 421 457-2900 ·

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