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Inter-Elektronik AG
Inter-Elektronik AG (IE) was a short-lived manufacturer of cryptographic equipment, based in Zug (Switzerland). IE was founded by Willy Reichert around 1983, after leaving his former company Mils Elektronik in Austria.

In 1994, the statutory seat of the company was moved to Lichtenstein, whilst the actual sales office was relocated to Innsbruck (Austria). At the same time, most developers left the company. A few years later, in 1996, the company was finally dissolved. A few months later, Reichert died.

 Inter-Elektronik cipher machines
  

 
History
Reichert Elektronik
The active history of Inter-Elektronik (IE) starts with Willy Reichert who, shortly after WWII, started a company in cryptographic equipment in Trier (Germany). The company was called Reichert Elektronik and was founded in 1946 or 1947. Reichert made his first fortune by rebuilding the Siemens T-52 Geheimschreiber cipher machines that had been scrapped after the war had ended.

Once the supply of T-52 machines had dried up, Reichert acquired a patent for a (random) noise generator and introduced a complete system for the production of One-Time-Tapes (OTT). Such punched paper tapes were used in combination with the so-called mixer machines, and provided unbreakable security. After several successful years, Reichert tried his luck on nuclear radiation meters (the Atomat) and remote control devices for model airplaines (TELECONT), but eventually lost substantial capital and had to return to the development and production of cipher machines.

The original Reichert Elektronik company logo (left) aside the new Mils Elektronik one (right)

 
Mils Elektronik
In the years following WWII, Reichert was able to supply equipment to most Western European countries, such as Germany and Belgium, but in the early 1960s, he started loosing business to other crypto-manufactuers. As the German government didn't want him to sell his machines to non-European (i.e. non-NATO) countries, he decided to move the company to (neutral) Austria.

The new company was called Mils Elektronik and was founded in Austria around 1965. Most of the existing products of Reicherts former company were renamed and the product range was vastly expanded. From that moment on, Mils Elektronik was able to supply any country in the world, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, where Reichert had good contacts. The new company logo was based on the original Reichert one, symbolising three spinning electrons.

In the late 1970s, Reichert felt it was time to find a successor who would take over the company and follow in his footsteps. After his senior developer Eberhart Scholz had declined, he turned his attention to Torsten Hartmann, an electronics engineer from Germany. Hartmann, who had good contactual skills, accepted and was soon announced as the future company director.

The Inter-Elektronik logo aside the original Mils Elektronik company logo

 
Inter-Elektronik
Approximately one year after Hartmann had joined Mils Elektronik, a serious conflict between him and Reichert caused permanent damage to the relationship between the two. Reichert, probably out of wounded pride, the decided to sell his shares in the company and start all over again.

He left his beloved Tirol (Austria) and settled down in Zug (Switzerland) where he started a new company by the name of Inter-Elektronik (IE). The company was actually established in 1962, but had been 'sleeping' for several years. Although Reichert was the driving force behind IE, the actual owner was Helmut F. Groner, a Swiss business man from Schaffhausen. The company became active around June 1983 and advertized its products in the following years [2].

Advert in Armada International of June 1984, showing the Reichert and Inter-Elektronik logos side-by-side [4].

When leaving Mils Elektronik, Reichert had taken copies of all secret designs and circuit diagrams, and also took some of the Mils staff. After developing a number of cipher machines (some of which strongly resembled existing Mils Elektronik products) he started addressing the existing Mils customer base. He even copied the company logo (see above), and advertized it side-by-side with the original Reichert Elektronik logo, making it very confusing for the customers [4].
 
Demise
Although some customers initially followed Reichert to his new company Inter-Elektronik, many of them eventually returned to the far more stable Mils Elektronik in Austria. As a result, Reichert saw his turnover gradually declining. Furthermore, his health began playing up and eventually Reichert saw himself forced to return to Austria, where he bought an appartment in Innsbruck.

In 1994, the statutory address of Inter-Elektronik was moved to Vaduz (Lichtenstein), whilst Reichert operated the sales office from Innsbruck (Austria). The Inter-Elektronik product portfolio last appeared in the Jane's catalogue of 1997 [3], but by that time the company had already been dissolved (16 February 1996). After a short illness, Reichert died on 4 July 1996. Reichert's former company, now called Mils Electronic, survived all storms and is still in business today.

 More about Mils Elektronik
 
Known products
  • DCE-8045, digital cipher unit
  • CCD-8045, Computer Cipher Device
  • DCE-8000 C, digital telex and data cipher equipment
  • DCE-8035, online/offline cipher equipment
  • DOS-8025, personal computer cipher system
  • DVS-3000 X, digital voice scrambler (module)
  • DVX-3000 XP, digital voice scrambler (hand-held)
  • DVC-3100 Y, Digital Voice Cipher Unit (hand held)
  • DVS-3600, full-duplex telephone scrambler
  • FCU-8045, Facimile cipher unit
  • PCE-8025, portable cipher terminal
  • RKG-8500, Key Generator
  • VSM-5400, voice scrambler
  • Vodacoder 2400, digital voice cipher terminal
Former address
  • Inter Elektronik AG
    Zeughausgasse 9
    CH-6301 Zug
    Switzerland

References
  1. Crypto Museum, History of Reichert Elektronik and Mils Elektronik
    July 2013.

  2. Jane's Military Communications 1994, Fifteenth Edition
    ISBN 0-7106-1163-3. pp. 538-543.

  3. Jane's Military Communications 1996, Eighteenth Edition
    ISBN 0-7106-1530-2. pp. 522-526.

  4. Inter-Elektronik AG, Security advert (Reichert - IE)
    Armada International. June 1994, page 77.

  5. Inter-Elektronik, Product overview
    Data unknown, but probably 1984 or 1985.

Further information

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