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Philips Crypto   Usfa
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, Philips Usfa developed a wide and highly successful 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.

The company was renamed to Philips Crypto in 1990, after Signaal USFA was taken over by Thomson (now: Thales) and the Dutch Government wanted the crypto-activities to remain Dutch. Philips Crypto was dissolved in 2003 due to lack of revenue. Some activities were taken over by Fox-IT and Compumatica.

 History of Philips Usfa/Crypto
 About the Philips Corporation
 Index of Philips crypto products


Philips crypto equipment on this website
Ecolex I, developed by PTT, manufactured by Philips Usfa
Ecolex I Mark 2, developed by PTT, never produced in quantity
Ecolex II, developed by PTT, manufactured by Philips Usfa
Ecolex III (or Ecolex IIB), the synchronised variant of the Ecolex II
TAROLEX key stream generator
Ecolex X (Ecolex 10) online/offline cipher machine
Aroflex UA-8116
Mucolex (UA-8451) Trunk Encryption Device
Miniflex UA-8036
Picoflex UA-8035
Building KG-81 (WALBURN) units for NATO, after giving up SATCOLEX.
Spendex-10 tactical speech encryptor with Delta Modulation
Spendex-30 secure telehone for voice and data, with Formant Vocoder.
Spendex-40 secure telephone for voice, fax and computer
Spendex 50 (DBT), military secure crypto phone
BVO-M (Mucolex compatible) Trunk Encryption Device
BVO-T (KG-81 compatible) Trunk Encryption Device
Aroflex II cipher machine, also known as PDLX-6141 or T-1285CA
Key fill device
Key fill device
PNVX secure crypto telephone, fax and data products
PFX-PM portable radio with digital encryption
Short-Burst Message Terminal with encryption (Modified Nokia SANLA)
Short-Burst Message Terminal with encryption (Modified Nokia PARSA)
Hand-held consumer communication terminal with crypto facilities
Hand-held consumer communication terminal with crypto facilities
PFDX fact encryptor
PPSX X.25 data encryptor
2Mb link encryptor
LAN Guard IP-based network encryption system
Key Generation System (UP-2002, PKMX-2002, Net Key Program)
Access card for secure telecommunication devices, used as a Crypto Ignition Key (CIK)
Secure communication for the Eindhoven Police via Motorola MDT-9100 terminals
Computer and network security PCMCIA card for the Dutch Government
Philips-developed crypto chips
Circuit Blocks
Developed but never released products
Tapeless Rotorless Online cipher system
High-speed link encryption device (8Mb/s)
Ecolex 20
Mobile secure radio voice system
Encryption/decription handset
Computer Data Encryptor
Smart card readers
Internal smart card reader with ISA-bus expansion card
External smart card reader with RS232 interface
External smart card reader with RS232 interface
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:

Ecolex II
The Ecolex II was a One-Time Tape (OTT) cipher machine, or mixer, developed by the Dutch PTT in 1958 and built by Philips, as the transistorised successor to the valve-based Ecolex I.

 More information

Ecolex IV
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.

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Tarolex   Ecolex V
Tarolex was the first step away from One-Time Tape (OTT) cipher machines. Instead of the (random) noise tape, this machine uses a key generator that is seeded with a 110-bit key.

Tarolex was initially developed for the NATO evaluation TROL, which was eventually cancelled. Awaiting the forthcoming Ecolex X, It was re-released in 1967, and allowed existing Ecolex IV machines to be converted for use with Tarolex.

 More information


Ecolex X
In 1972, the One-Time Tape machines and Tarolex were succeeded by the Ecolex X. Instead of a key tape it uses 36 thumbwheels to set the daily key. The machine can be used for offline as well as online traffic.

Ecolex X came with a compact tape reader that could be used for processing offline traffic.

 More information


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 Dacolex 15.

 More information


Aroflex is probably the most successful cipher machine ever built by Philips Usfa. It was developed between 1976 and 1982, and is based on the chassis of a Siemens T-1000 teleprinter. More than 4500 units were manufactured.

Aroflex uses a proprietary Philips-developed NATO-approved encryption algorithm. It is com­patible with KL-51 (RACE) and is used by NATO, the Dutch government, the Dutch Department of Defence and by the governments of some friendly nations, like Norway and Canada.

 More information


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

Unfortunately, development took too long and by the time the machine was ready, microprocessor-based solutions were rapidly taking over from the ageing teletype-based technology. As a result, Aroflex II was produced in limited quantities.

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Picoflex was an electronic military-grade portable cipher machine, developed by Philips between 1976 and 1982, in parallel with Aroflex. It is microprocessor-controlled but uses proprietary NATO-approved hardware-based encryption that is compatible with Aroflex and KL-51 (RACE).

It was commonly supplied in a green aluminium transit case, along with a thermal printer, acoustic telephone coupler and radio interface.

 More information


Miniflex was developed by Philips Usfa between 1976 and 1982, as a spin-off from the Picoflex development. The device is intended for civil applications and uses a proprietary software-based encryption algorithm.

The device was usually supplied in a Samsonite briefcase, so that it could be carried around inconspiculously by business men on the move.

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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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Spendex 40
Spendex-40 was a secure military crypto phone, developed by Philips Usfa around 1980. It was compatible with the American STU-II and used the highly secret SAVILLE encryption algorithm.

Spendex 40 was used by NATO, the Dutch Army, the Dutch Government and the major Dutch telecom operator PTT. It was phased out in 2009.

 More information


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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PNVX was a series of secure crypto telephones, developed by Philips for secure voice, fax and data transfer over standard (analog) telephone lines. It was mainly intended for use by the Dutch Government and large (approved) corporations.

The PNVX has now largely been phased out and replaced by modern alternatives.

 More information


Following the success of the PNVX crypto phone, Philips also developed a fax encryptor that was based on the same encryption engine.

It was suitable for all Group 3 fax machines and was connected between the fax and the analogue telephone line.

 More information


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.

 More information


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 (pocket telex) that could be used for sending secure message over standard telephone lines, using a built-in acoustic modem. The messages were encrypted with DES.

The PX-1000 was manufactured by Text Lite, but was also marketed by Philips. A year after the introduction, the NSA persuaded Philips to buy the entire stock and replace DES by an alternative encryption algorithm that was developed by the NSA and contained a backdoor.

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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


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).

 More information


History of Philips 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 900 units are sold to the Dutch Army and to NATO.   

TROL was developed between 1960 and 1962. The intention was to replace the OTT key tape by a Pseudo-Random Number Generator (PRNG). TROL stands for Tape Rotorless On-Line, and was a combination of ECOLEX IV, TAROLEX and SIMILEX. The ECOLEX IV was modified and lost both of its tape readers.   

ECOLEX X (sometimes written as ECOLEX 10), was an improved all-in-one version of TROL/TAROLEX, developed under contract with the Royal 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.   

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 manufactured.   

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.   

ZODIAC was the name of a new integrated communication network of the Dutch Army. Philips daughter HSA and Philips Usfa were 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 historical information about that period. Below is a non-exhausive list of cipher systems from the post-1982 era.

Index of model numbers
Model Description Army NSN
US 8500 Ecolex I, mixer cipher machine ? -
US 8011 Ecolex II, mixer machine KL/GGC-3010 -
US 8015 Ecolex IV, mixer cipher machine Vh 40.1612.11 5810-17-704-3910
US 8503 Erolet, random key tape generator - -
US 8900 Siemens T send 77f double tape reader - -
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 8042 Cable set Ecolex X - tape unit KL/TGA-3572 ?
UA 8043 Cable set Ecolex X - mains ? ?
UA 8044 Cable set KL - Line ? ?
UA 8045 Cable set PTT - Line ? ?
UA 8047 Adapter (PTT) ? ?
UA 8048 Storage case for Ecolex X parts ? 5810-17-036-7034
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
UA 8494 Aroflex Field Test Set - -
UA 8511 Aroflex diagnostics kit - -
UP 1303 Personal key card for S-card - -
UP 1351 S-Card (Belgium) - -
UP 2001 DS-102 compatible key fill device - -
UP 2002 Key Generation System - -
UP 2017 PNVX 2017 secure crypto phone - -
UP 2035 PFDX 2035 Fax Encryptor - -
UP 2061 PPSX 2061 X.25 Encryptor - -
UP 2065 PPSX 2065 X.25 Encryptor - -
UP 2081 Mobile encryptor (handset) - -
UP 2093 PFX-PM half-duplex crypto module - -
UP 2094 Crypto module for SPIDER - -
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 - -
Smart card readers
PE-118 Internal smart card reader (ISA-bus) - 5111 199 46501
PE-122-202 External smart card reader (RS232) - 9594 511 00108
PE-122-210 External smart card reader (RS232) - 9594 511 00111
PE-122 External smart card reader (RS232) - 9594 511 00116
Philips ASICs
Below is a non-exhaustive overview of Philips-developed crypto-related ASICs.

Year ID Description Remark
1974 OQ4406 NLFSR-based crypto core Aroflex, NATO
1975 OQ4407 Less secure crypto core Beroflex, non-NATO
1985 OQ4422 ? Used in Spendex 40
1985 OQ4430 SAVILLE encryption algorithm Spendex 40 /50
1987 OQ4434 Advanced version of OQ4407 Non-NL/NATO/ USA
1987 OQ4435 New crypto logic with RNG  
1987 OQ4436 Advanced version of OQ4406 NL, NATO, USA
1996 GCD General crypto processor Publicly available
1997 GCD-Φ Advanced crypto processor Approved for SECRET
1999 GCD-Φ 2000 Improved/enhanced GCD-Φ  
  1. Philips Crypto corporate brochure
  2. PNVX 2118 leaflet
  3. PNVX Brochure (6 pages)
  4. PNVX 211Y Product Family Brochure
  5. PFDX 2035 (fax encryptor) leaflet
  6. PFDX Brochure (4 pages)
  7. PPSX 2061 (data encryptor) leaflet
  8. PPSX Brochure (6 pages)
  9. Philips digital secure speech system (radio)
  1. Key Management Philosophy for the New Generation Crypto Equipment 1
    Philips Crypto BV, 1990.
  1. Document kindly provided by AIVD/NBV [1].

  1. AIVD/NBV, Collection of documents about Philips Crypto products
    Received February 2018. CM-202832-C.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Tuesday 04 August 2009. Last changed: Saturday, 15 June 2024 - 10:14 CET.
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