Remote Crypto Distribution System (RCDS)

The loading and other management of Cryptographic Variables (CVs) is a task that has to be performed on a regular basis -often daily- to all radios that need to participate in a secure network.

Today this is performed by manual procedures which often results in military personnel repeating the same procedure at a number of sites containing radio equipment. Often due  to the network coverage required by these radio systems the radio sites are unmanned, are in remote locations and often are diffi cult to access in severe weather conditions. These activities have a high cost for the military in terms of personnel and time.

The Remote Crypto Distribution System (RCDS®) offers the ability to perform the management of the CVs to multiple remote sites from a central or mobile manned installation, by making use of the in-country Digital Data Network (DDN).

The RCDS® provides the capability to remotely load crypto to multiple remote locations from a central site, obviating the need for manual crypto fill resulting in significant savings on man-power and related costs.


The RCDS® consists of a computer based Master Crypto Management (MCM) system which is “operating-system independen”’ and normally runs on a laptop. In its basic configuration two small rugged boxes are required, one designated as the Master Crypto Unit (MCU) which is normally co-located with the MCM and one designated as the Slave Crypto Unit (SCU), which is normally located at the remote site. The MCU and SCU are connected by an IP secure Virtual Private Network (VPN), i.e. in-country DDN.

The flexibility of the system allows for expansion by simply adding more SCUs for each remote site and if necessary, multiple MCUs to cater for different operational activities (i.e. C2).  At the remote site(s), an optional Slave Crypto Management (SCM) system can be installed to enable control of the collocated radio. Note that the system is unobtrusive thus allowing for manual operations or control of crypto fill devices.


In the scenario of using multiple MCUs, these can connect to the same or different SCUs. All the MCUs will receive and log the same information from the SCUs, hence, all units being fully updated on system status. In the same way, every MCU is capable of system wide operation. Additionally:

  • The system has the ability to input, distribute, store, erase CVs, and to load CVs into collocated equipment.
  • A firewall prevents unauthorised access from the DDN.

Master Crypto Management functionality

The main tasks of the MCM are to control and monitor CVs and the RCDS® equipment. All CV and system activited are automatically logged. This includes short title and expiry dates of CVs, date and time of CV import, distribution and deletion.

Slave Crypto Management functionality

All system oprations, as defined for the MCM above, are also available via the SCM. The SCM is normally used during manual operation at remote sites and need not be present otherwise.

CV Erasure

The MCU and SCU will erase the temporarily stored CVs upon:

  • CVs individually expiring by date and time.
  • A command from the MCM or SCM.
  • MCU or SCU power failure.
  • The MCU or SCU detecting tampering attempt.


The RCDS® is Tempest-approved by the Norwegian National Security Authority (NO NSA) up to and including NATO SECRET/HEMMELIG.

The RCDS® has been EMC evaluated in accordance to requirements stated in MIL-STD-461E.

The RCDS® has been Tempest evaluated in accordance to the requirements stated in the SDIP-27 for equipment category Level A, and the equipment is to be installed in accordance to the installation guidelines in SDIP-29.

These tests were the last to be conducted prior to achieving from SECAN, NATO SECRET approval in line with MCM‑0065‑2011.