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Philips Crypto
In the second half of the 20th century, Dutch electronics giant Philips had a special branch that manufactured equipment for the Dutch Department of Defence, called: Philips Usfa. Among other things, Usfa developed a wide range of cipher machines that were used in The Netherlands and other NATO countries. In the late 1980s Philips Usfa was merged with Philips subsidary Holland Signaal and went on as Signaal USFA. More...

When Signaal was acquired by Thomson-CSF (now Thales) in 1990, the cryptography department went back to Philips and continued as Philips Crypto as the Dutch government wanted to have its own crypto-industry.

In 2003, the tide turned for Philips Crypto and the company was closed due to lack of revenue. Parts of it were sold to other companies such as Fox-IT and Compumatica. Philips Crypto devices have had a very long life span. Although most devices are no longer approved for secure communication, some units were still in use in 2010. More...
The following Philips crypto equipment is featured on this website:
Ecolex-I Ecolex I EROLET Erolet Ecolex-II Ecolex II Ecolex-IV Ecolex IV TAROLEX key stream generator Tarolex Ecolex X (Ecolex 10) online/offline cipher machine Ecolex X Aroflex UA-8116 Aroflex Mucolex (UA-8451) Trunk Encryption Device Mucolex
Miniflex UA-8036 Miniflex Picoflex UA-8035 Picoflex Building KG-81 (WALBURN) units for NATO, after giving up SATCOLEX. HISPEED Spendex-10 tactical speech encryptor with Delta Modulation SP-10 Spendex-30 secure telehone for voice and data, with Formant Vocoder. SP-30 Spendex-40 secure telephone for voice, fax and computer SP-40 Spendex 50 (DBT), military secure crypto phone SP-50 BVO Trunk Encryption Device BVO
Aroflex II cipher machine, also known as PDLX-6141 or T-1285CA Aroflex II Key fill device UP-2001 Key fill device UP-2101 PNVX secure crypto telephone, fax and data products PNVX PFX-PM portable radio with digital encryption PFX-PM Hand-held Patrol Terminal UA 8296 Hand-held consumer communication terminal with crypto facilities PX-1000 Hand-held consumer communication terminal with crypto facilities PX-2000
LAN Guard IP-based network encryption system LAN Guard Key Generation System (UP-2002, PKMX-2002, Net Key Program) PKMX Secure communication for the Eindhoven Police via Motorola MDT-9100 terminals MDT Computer and network security PCMCIA card for the Dutch Government V-kaart Philips-developed crypto chips Chips

Developed but never released products
Tapeless Rotorless Online cipher system TROL High-speed link encryption device (8Mb/s) Satcolex Ecolex 20 Ecolex 20 Mobile secure radio voice system Orthros Encryption/decription handset UP-2081 Computer Data Encryptor PCDX

 History of Philips Usfa/Crypto
 General information about Philips
 History of Philips crypto machines
 Index of Philips crypto products
Cipher machines
Over the years, Philips Crypto developed a wide range of cipher machines, some of which are listed below. Unfortunately, information about the machines is limited, as the company no longer exists. You can help us by providing additional information. The following Philips cipher machines are featured on this website. Click any of the images for further information:
In 1959, Philips started development of the Ecolex-IV as the successor of the Ecolex-I and II models. Like the previous models, it is based on the Vernam cipher, whereby the 5-bit data from the plain text tape is mixed with a random cipher tape.

 More information
More information about the Ecolex-IV

Ecolex 20   wanted item
Ecolex 20 was a data encryption unit, developed by Philips Usfa BV in Eindhoven (Netherlands) in the mid-1980s. It was aimed as the successor to the Ecolex-X, but according to some reports it was never taken into production. It is also known as the Dacolex 15.

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More information about the Ecolex 20

Aroflex   wanted item
The Aroflex is one of the most successful crypto machines ever built by Philips Usfa. It was developed between 1976 and 1982 and over 4500 units were produced. It uses a built-in crypto algorithm with a rather long key. The machines were used by the Dutch government, the Dutch Department of Defence, and the governments of some friendly nations, such as Norway and Canada.

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More information about the Aroflex UA-8116

Aroflex II   wanted item
The Aroflex was intended as the successor to the original Aroflex (see above). The fully electronic teletype unit was built by Siemens, whilst Philips developed the crypto units.

Unfortunately, development took too long and the machine hit the market too late. As a result, only very few of them were actually sold.

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More information about the Aroflex II

The Miniflex was developed by Philips between 1976 and 1982. It was one of the first fully electronic cipher machines built by Philips that was based on a microprocessor. The version shown here was developed for civil applications (hence the grey colour).

A military version, with a more advanced cryptographic algorithm was sold as Picoflex UA-8035 (see below).

 More information
More information about the Miniflex

Picoflex was a fully electronic military-grade portable cipher machine, developed by Philips Usfa between 1976 and 1982. It was fully microprocessor-controlled and had a built-in sealed NATO-approved hardware crypto module.

It was often contained in a green aluminium suitcase, together with a matching thermal printer, an acoustic telephone coupler and a radio interface.

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More information about the Picoflex

Spendex 10
Spendex-10 was the first voice encryption unit developed by Philips Usfa around 1970. It used Delta Modulation combined with a 60-bit stream cipher and was intended for use in combination with the RT-3600 radio that was used by the Dutch Armed Forces.

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More information about the Spendex-10

Spendex 40
Spendex-40 was the last of a series of crypto-based phones, developed by Philips Usfa around 1980. It was a high-grade cipher system that allowed the secure transmission of voice, fax and computer messages over standard telephone lines.

It was used, for example, by the Dutch Army, the Dutch Government and the major Dutch telecom operator PTT. Spendex-40 was declassified in 2009.

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More information about the Spendex-40

Spendex 50   wanted item
Spendex 50 was a wide band digital voice and data terminal used by the Dutch Armed Forces as part of the ZODIAC communications network. It uses Delta Modulation for speech and was NATO-approved. It is also known as DBT.

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More information about the Spendex-50

PNVX Secure Crypto Phones
PNVX was a series of secure crypto telephones and other communication products, developed by Philips for secure voice, fax and data communication over standard (analog) telephone lines. It was mainly intended for use by the Dutch Government.

The PNVX has now largely been replaced by modern alternatives.

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PFX Portable Radio with Crypto
The Philips PFX-PM was a portable half-duplex radio with digital encryption. It was based on a PFX radio, built by Philips Radio Communication Systems (PRCS, formerly: Pye) in Cambridge (UK).

In 1990, Philips Usfa developed the UP 2093 half-duplex crypto module that fitted the extended version of the PFX radio.

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The UA8296 was a small hand-held military-grade message terminal, intended for sending secure text-based messages over a narrow band radio channel, using Audio Frequency Shift Keying (AFSK).

It was in fact a rebadged Nokia PARSA, that was mainly sold to the Dutch Department of Defence (DoD) as a hand-held patrol terminal.

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PX-1000 was a pocket-size hand-held message terminal that could be used for sending secure message over standard telephone lines, using a built-in acoustic coupler.

Although the PX-1000 was manufactured by Text Lite in Ireland, it was (partly) marketed and sold by Philips in the Netherlands. The Philips version with encryption (PX-1000Cr) contained a much improved cryptographic algorithm.

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Philips PX-1000CR

V-Kaart   wanted item
V-Kaart (or: V-Card) was a data protection system for personal computers and networks, developed for the Dutch Government. It was implemented as a PCMCIA card and was suitable for information up to TOP SECRET (Stg. Geheim).

It was the last major project before Philips Crypto closed its doors in 2003. V-Kaart later became Fort Fox File Encryptor (FFFE).

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Philips V-kaart (V-card)

MDT Project
In the mid-1990s, Philips was involved in a project to make the Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) of the Dutch Police more secure, by developing a special PCMCIA card for them.

The system was implemented with the Eindhoven Police Force and successfully stopped criminals from eavesdropping on their radio traffic.

 More information
A Motorola MDT-9100-WS terminal equipped with a Philips Crypto module

History of cipher machines
The cryptographic activities of Philips Usfa started in 1956, when they built the first electronic One-Time Tape (OTT) cipher machine, that was developed by the PTT (Dutch Post Office). The overview below, lists the most important milestones in the history of Philips Crypto, from the beginning in 1956 to their most successful period in 1982. Unfortunately, we have no information about the period 1982-2003 at present.
Philips' involvement with cryptographic equipment started in 1956 when they were contracted to build the first generation valve-based OTT cipher machines, developed by the PTT (Dutch Post Office). It was the ECOLEX I, of which only 25 units were ever built.   

At the same time (1956), the PTT had developed a Random Number Generator (RNG) for the production of key tapes for the ECOLEX I. The valve-based machine was called EROLET and was also produced by Philips. Only 10 EROLET machines were built.   

A few years later, in 1960, the PTT developed of the first transistor-based version of the ECOLEX I, called the ECOLEX II. The machine is also built by Philips and between 1960 and 1963 approx. 120 of these ECOLEX II units are built.   

In 1959, development is started of the first all-Philips cipher machine: the ECOLEX IV. It is the first OTT machine (mixer) with built-in synchronization and is a great success. Over 750 units are sold to the Dutch Army and to NATO.   

TROL was developed between 1962 and 1965. The intention was to replace the OTT key tape by a Pseudo-Random Number Generator (PRNG). TROL stands for Tape Rotorless Off-Line, and was a combination of ECOLEX IV, TAROLEX and SIMILEX. The ECOLEX IV was modified and lost one of its tape readers.   

TAROLEX was a key stream generator that used an Usfa algorithm for the PRNG. SIMILEX was a unit for editing the key settings in a communication network. TROL took part in a NATO evaluation, but lost the competition to ALVIS (BID 610). Parts of TROL would be used in other projects later on (see below).
TROL/Tarolex prototype

ECOLEX X (sometime written as ECOLEX 10), was an improved all-in-one version of TROL, developed under contract with the Dutch Army. It was developed from 1965 to 1972, after which 388 units were produced. Some units were delivered to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.   
Ecolex X (Ecolex 10) online/offline cipher machine

Whilst ECOLEX-X was under development, the Dutch Army wanted a similar solution for the remaining ECOLEX-IV units. Between 1966 and 1967, Philips therefore developed TAROLEX, which was based on the earlier TROL project. It was used to replace the key-tape reader of the ECOLEX IV by a key stream generator (PRNG). In total, 151 TAROLEX units were built.   

At the same time, a coupling filter (KOPPELFILTER) was developed to use the TAROLEX with the older ECOLEX II units and make the combination TEMPEST-proof. 30 of these filters were built.
Between 1960 and 1976, Philips conducted a range of experiments with voice cryptography for the Dutch Army, under the name: SPENDEX 10. It was a wide-band voice crypto system for tactical radio networks, using Delta-Modulation (CVSD) and a, key-generation called: Crypto Text Auto Key or Autoclave.   

SPENDEX 20 was a first attempt at narrow-band voice cryptography. It was developed between 1969 and 1971 and used an Ericsson vocoder with an Usfa-developed crypto unit. When Philips lost NATO evaluation NABSVOS to ELCROVOX (AEG and Siemens), SPENDEX 20 was withdrawn in return for co-production of ELCROVOX. It marked the start of further co-operation with AEG and Siemens.

MUCOLEX was a 1Mb/s multi-channel cipher unit, developed between 1970 and 1977 under contract with the Dutch Army. By 1982, approx 550 units were sold to the Dutch Army, the Dutch Air Force and to the Army of Greece. It was an extremely reliable unit. MUCOLEX would later also be part of ZODIAC.   

SATCOLEX was an 8Mb/s multi-channel cipher unit, developed between 1975 and 1977, for NATO evaluation HISPEED. Shortly before the actual evaluation, SATCOLEX was withdrawn in return for co-production of the winning American WALBURN system (KG-81 with peripherals). It marked the start of a relationship with the American NSA.   

SPENDEX 30 was a low-cost narrow-band voice cipher system, based on a Formant Vocoder developed by Philips Research (Nat Lab). A civil version (SPENDEX 35) was developed for the Belgian Police. It was produced by Belgian Philips daughter MBLE (except for the crypto module).   

AROFLEX was an off-line teletype-based cipher machine, developed between 1974 and 1982 for NATO evaluation CEROFF, as a possible replacement for the American KL-7 (Adonis, Pollux). It turned out to be Philips' most successful cipher machine. By the end of 1982, over 2500 units had already been produced.   

PICOFLEX was a fully-electronic minature cipher machine, developed between 1976 and 1982. Using the CEROFF standard, it was interoperable with AROFLEX and RACE. A civil variant was called MINIFLEX. By the end of 1982, over 300 units had already been produced.   

Between 1979 and 1982, Philips Usfa worked on the so-called HISPEED project, under NATO contract. It was a co-production order of the American WALBURN system (KG-81) that Philips had won when giving up the SATCOLEX project in 1977. By the end of 1982, 95 complete systems had already been delivered.   
HISPEED project

ZODIAC was the codename of a new integrated communication network of the Dutch Army. Philips Usfa was contracted to develop and build parts of this new network. Development was started in 1980 and the system became operational in 1987. The last units were delivered in 1991.   

BVO-M was a 2Mb/s rack-mount multi-channel cipher system, designed as part of the ZODIAC project. It was also known as Mucolex II or UA-8244 and was backwards compatible with the earlier 1Mb/s MUCOLEX.   
BVO-T was a 2Mb/s rack-mount multi-channel cipher system, designed as part of the ZODIAC project. It was also known as Mucolex III or UA-8245 and was compatible with the standard American Trunk Encryption Device (TED) KG-81.   
SPENDEX 50 was a 16kb wide-band voice entryption device and data terminal, housed inside a military-grade phone terminal. In 1980, Philips Usfa started development of the crypto heart of this device. The Dutch Army called it DBT (Digitaal Beveiligd Telefoontoestel, Digital Secure Telephone). The official designator was UA-8246. Outside of NATO it is called UA-8328 or DWBST 55.   

SPENDEX 40 was a narrow-band voice encryption device for use on standard telephone networks. It used an LPC vocoder and looked like a rather bulky telephone set. Development started in 1980 and was supported by the Dutch Government. It was widely used by the government and by NATO.   

Further history
The early 1980s were arguably the most successful years of Philips Usfa. Many new machines were introduced and development of the highly-acclaimed ZODIAC project had just started. In the period after 1982, many more cyrotopgrahic products were developed and introduced, but unfortunately, we have no detailed information about that period. Below is a non-exhausive list of cipher systems from the post-1982 era.
Index of model numbers
Designator Description Army NSN
Us 8011 Ecolex II, mixer machine - -
Us 8015 Ecolex IV, mixer cipher machine Vh 40.1612.11 5810-17-704-3910
UA 6303 3.6V Lithium Battery (penlight size) - -
UA 8021 Ecolex 20 (Dacolex 15) - -
UA 8035 Picoflex, portable cipher unit (Mil) - -
UA 8036 Miniflex, portable cipher unit (civil) - -
UA 8040 Ecolex X, cipher machine KL/TGA-3572 ?
UA 8041 Remote control unit of Ecolex X KL/TGA-3572 5810-17-036-7029
UA 8116 Aroflex, off-line cipher machine BID 1100 -
UA 8084 Tarolex, key generator KL/TGA-3128 5810-17-027-8947
UA 8237 Spendex 30, crypto phone - -
UA-8244 MUCOLEX II, BVO-M, part of ZODIAC KY 6127M ?
UA-8245 MUCOLEX III, BVO-T, part of ZODIAC ? ?
UA 8246 Spendex 50, DBT crypto phone ? 5805-17-055-9132
UA 8251 Spendex 40, secure crypto phone (Mil) ? ?
UA-8257 Dacolex (same as BVO-M, see below) KY 4753 ?
UA 8295 Short Burst Terminal (Nokia SANLA) ? ?
UA 8296 Hand-held Patrol Terminal (Nokia PARSA) ? ?
UA 8301 Spendex 10, military voice crypto - -
UA 8328 DWBST 55, Foreign version of spendex 50 - -
UA 8451 Mucolex, multiplex encryptor KY 4651 5810-17-044-3508
UP 1351 S-Kaart (Belgium) - -
UP 2017 PNVX 2017 secure crypto phone - -
UP 2093 PFX-PM half-duplex crypto module - -
UP 2001 DS-102 compatible key fill device - -
UP 2002 Key Generation System - -
UP 2035 PFDX 2035 Fax Encryptor - -
UP 2061 PPSX 2061 X.25 Encryptor - -
UP 2081 Mobile encryptor (handset) - -
UP 2101 DS-102 compatible key fill device - -
UP 2104 Key Generation Station (KGS) for MDT - -
UP 2194 Host Encryptor (HE) for Motorola MDT - -
UP 2198 Mobile Encryptor (ME) for Motorola MDT - -
UP 6142 Link Encryptor 2Mb/s - -
UP 6317 PNVX 6317 secure crypto phone (2400) - -
UP 6318 PNVX 6318 secure crypto phone (9600) - -
UP 6335 PFDX 6335 Fax Encryptor - -
UP 6361 PPSX 6361 X.25 Encryptor - -
UP 6451 V-Kaart - -
UP 6461 C-Kaart - -


Further information

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