Down memory lane
Take a look at our history throughout the years.
EID was established on 8th of June 1983, and was 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 who previously worked together in the R&D department of a private-owned, Portuguese industrial group.
With the support of the Portuguese Ministry of Defence (MoD), the team accepted the challenge of developing a range of products as required by the ongoing modernization programme of the Armed Forces regarding communications. Such support propelled the in-house consolidation of state-of-the-art technologies, enabling the company to develop strong competences that became 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 to the future of the company.
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 the Roberto Ivens frigate. It was one of the first NATO ships equipped with a fully integrated communications system, its 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.
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, anticipating the perceived technological trends, EID decided to invest in SMD technology, installing the appropriate tools and ensuring adequate training to its personnel. Such investment, which was revelant at the time, led to a technological breakthrough in terms of the 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.
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 should 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.
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 in the shareholders capital to around € 8,7 million.
In the very same year a new generation of message handling systems came 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.
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, due to the permanent evolution of technology, ICCS was upgraded in order to remain a competitive, state-of-the-art solution. The 5th generation system, 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 that are currently being sold in 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.
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. AQAP2110, 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 launched the 6th generation of ICCS, an IP-based concept with multiple, advanced new features. This version would 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, Cohort plc, the UK-based independent technology group, took a majority stake on EID. This acquisition provided both parties with the ability to offer a wider range of new and complementary capabilities to defence and security customers worldwide.