The “secret” 2000 US$ Russian Military Phone

Russia is stepping up their secrecy game and want to keep “curious cats” even more out of their secret stuff an documents. How you ask? Well thats secret…but we will share it with you…

– source: Izvestia 

This is it – the big “secret” tool of the Russian Defence Ministry – well not really a secret to be honest. But it helps secret things and information stay secret.

“This is a Joke, right? Its just an old GSM cell phone..pfff”
Definitely not a Joke and probably yes “just” a GSM phone…besides….
It features some pretty neat features which are exlcusively produced and Engineerd by the Federal State “Atlas Scientific and Technical Center” in Moscow.

“ATLAS” was opened in 1951 during the Soviet Union as a Experimental Plant for new methods (and needs) for special communications (and their encryption).

Today “ATLAS” is a full fledged state owned Research Center for scientifical and technical methods of protection computer information and protecting informaition bein sent through communications channels.
Since March 2008 it is part of the Minstry of Communications of Russia.

I think their “Blazon” pretty much capture the securing of information during communications.

“Yeah nice side info, but what about that 2000 US$ phone??”
Ah yes..i got little distracted…

The long-running and widely spread russian Newspaper “Izvestia” was told by the Russian Ministry of Defense in the last quarter of 2017, that officers of the high command chain have been issued the new encrypted and protected M-663S (M-663C) cellphone, engineered completely by “ATLAS” with all device having Russian made hard- and software.
The commercial available SMP-ATLAS/2 GSM Phone by “ATLAS”

To be precies, the M-663S (M-663C) is an further developed and Militray grade variant of the commercial available model SMP-ATLAS/2.
With the main difference being a metal/rubberized and shock-resistand and waterproof case, with a sapphire crystal display.

“But what does it all feature and what is the real difference between this and my chinese 80US$ Outdoor cellphone?”

The M-663S is equipped with 

  • Hardware cryptographic protection of voice calls via normal GSM Networks
    (only via “Megafon” provider / No SMS or other types of data transmission encryption)
  • Remote activation of “self-destructions of encryption keys”
    (in case of loss, through GSM Network)
  • Sapphire Crystal Display
  • Dust and Waterproof according to IP68 (russian “IP68” to be precise)
  • Operating in Temperatures from -20° to +50° Celsius (Military request)
  • Operating in Humidity of 98% at temperature of +35° celsius (or more)
  • Weight of 130g
  • Color display (265 colors)
  • MP3 player 🙂

Battery life:

  • 6 month without recharging in “OFF” state
  • 6,5 days in standby mode
  • 4,5 hours talk time in “normal” mode
  • 4 hours talk time  in “encrypted/protected” mode

Dimension I am “guessing” will be around 112x45x22mm according to the pictures and side-by-side (photoshop) comparision of the M-663S and the SMP-ATLAS/2

The phone is being produces with a limited quantity of around 100 pieces per year, since they are all hand built – if you are looking to get an SMP-ATLAS/2 then you have to calculate around 4 month of waiting time – don’t ask me about the prices, it is via Inquiry only, but I am guessin it will be as well around 2000 US$.

Main Idea behind the hardware encryption of voice calls is, that commanders can use a secure connections not only from a point of permanent deployment, but also during exerciese, field visits or even on business trips and being able to organize a “closed” channel of communications while being abroad.

– Herman Klimenko next to Vladimir Putin, President of Russian Federation

There is an Interview by Russian “President of Internet Development” Herman Klimenko with Izvestia, talking about the need of such “secure-line” moblie phones for high ranking commanders.

You can read the Transcription below.:

 “The modern world is informational. Without a mobile phone, it’s already very difficult to manage. But the usual “civilian” apparatus is vulnerable to special services of other states, “the expert said. – Today, most senior Russian officials received phones with hardware cryptographic protection, they are even needed for military officals. The M-633C is not cheap, but the loss of military secrets can be much more expensive and even cost the loss of lives.

Former closed communication channels for commanders were provided by communication officers, who were pulling wires and installing stationary security equipment. Such a connection could not be organized everywhere, for its adjustment it would take a long time. Commanders were therefore often unable to attend to secret negotiations. The M-663C issued to the commander of the armies, their deputies, commanders of communications, commanders and chiefs of staffs of brigades must solve this problem now.

On a side note – American military used for secret negotiations at different times civilian mobile phones, which were equipped with hardware cryptographic protection. Initially, these were devices from the Canadian manufacturer BlackBerry, then Samsung, now the US is switching to Apple products…”

22.02.2018 – by Logisticz for Gruppa L

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