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Author: Subject: Tactical Radio
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[*] posted on 21-6-2019 at 08:37 AM


Harris to begin LRIP 2 HMS Manpack radio deliveries to US Army in October

Ashley Roque, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly

20 June 2019

The Harris Corporation is expecting to finish delivering its first batch of low-rate initial production (LRIP) Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form-Fit (HMS) radios to the US Army by October before moving out on a new buy.

Army leaders recently awarded the company with an undisclosed sum of money for a second LRIP contract for 860 AN/PRC-158 multichannel radios, Harris spokesperson Tim White told Jane’s. Under the plan, Harris is slated to complete delivery of its first batch of LRIP HMS Manpack radios by October, and then begin delivering the communication devices under the second buy.

“The army’s new network modernisation strategy and Integrated Tactical Network [ITN] is designed to enable ‘fighting tonight’, while seeking next-generation solutions to stay ahead of potential adversaries,” Dana Mehnert, the president of Harris Communication Systems, said in an announcement.

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[*] posted on 4-7-2019 at 09:40 PM


US Air Force seeks information on non-satcom beyond line-of-sight communications

Pat Host, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 July 2019


High frequency radio is experiencing a renaissance as armed forces are rediscovering it as a fallback option should satcom be unavailable. Source: US Department of Defense

Key Points

- The US Air Force seeks information on beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) communication technologies that are not satellite communication (satcom)
- The Pentagon is concerned about how to communicate BLOS if satcom is unavailable in war

The US Air Force (USAF) seeks information from industry regarding non-satellite-based beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) communications.

The request for information (RFI), reissued on 1 July on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, specifically seeks technical information on the current state-of-the-art and the future development potential for non-satellite communications high frequency global communications system (HFGCS) (satcom) BLOS technologies such as tropospheric scatter (troposcatter), high frequency (HF), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) relays, passive reflector systems, and others. Further, it seeks information about current and planned development initiatives, technology maturity, fabrication methods, availability, schedule, and cost of such materials for potential use in anticipated military applications.

The USAF is interested in systems that would provide the best redundancy to satcom systems in performance characteristics.

These systems may include well-known systems such as troposcatter and HF but also lesser-known systems including passive scatter systems such as aircraft and meteor burst scatter, or an entirely novel idea of achieving BLOS communications.

Troposcatter technology uses particles that make up the earth's atmosphere as a reflector for microwave radio signals. Those signals are aimed just above the horizon in the direction of a receiver station. As they pass through the troposphere, some of the energy is scattered back toward earth, allowing the receiver station to pick up the signal, according to Raytheon.

Responses are due by 29 July. In responses, the USAF wants to learn more about new technologies that would decrease maintenance cost fivefold, have a 50% increase in average time between failure, a 100% increase in part failure prediction accuracy, and a 25% increase in reuse.

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[*] posted on 11-7-2019 at 12:04 AM


UK fields upgraded Bowman

Tim Ripley, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

10 July 2019

New communications network applications and hardware have been successfully fielded to British Army and Royal Marines units on operations under the Bowman ComBAT Infrastructure P-BISA (BCIP) 5.6 project.


A Scots Guards sergeant with an infantry terminal introduced as part of the infrastructure element of BCIP 5.6. (British Army)

UK troops deployed in Poland under Operation 'Cabrit' and Royal Marines very high readiness units of 3 Commando Brigade have received the new applications and hardware for the Bowman communications system, according to a programme update by the British Army on 1 July seen by Jane's .

Units of 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade, which is leaving Germany this summer, as well as British Army training organisations in Canada and Kenya, have so far received the BCIP 5.6 upgrade to their radios and command systems. Over the next four months, British Army units in Estonia, Iraq, and Afghanistan will receive the new system, as will 16 Air Assault Brigade, Headquarters 3 (UK) Division, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Regiment Force Protection Wing, and 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade. Training units in the UK will also start to receive the system in September, including the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) in Warminster in Wiltshire.

The update revealed that the Land System Reference Centre at Blanford in Dorset has carried out a trial this year to test interoperability with the French Système d'Information pour le Commandement des Forces (Forces Command Information System, SICF) ahead of the validation exercise for the UK-France Combined Joint Expeditionary Force in 2020.

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[*] posted on 19-7-2019 at 01:50 PM


US, Allies Getting Larger Airborne Network With New JTRS Radios

The software defined radios will make F/A-18E/F and F-22 aircraft communications nodes in a coalition network.

By Barry Rosenberg

on July 18, 2019 at 4:32 PM


An F-22 intercepts a Russian Tu-95 Bear.

WASHINGTON: Over the last decade, the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program has experienced major restructuring and outright cancellations, but many elements are still going strong after a dozen years. Case in point is the airborne portion of JTRS, which has racked up $327 million in additional orders for use in Navy F/A-18E/F and Air Force F-22 aircraft, the DoD announced in two contract awards last night.

Data Link Solutions, a joint venture of BAE Systems and Collins Aerospace, was awarded $235.6 million to produce the most advanced version of the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) JTRS radio, increasing its total contract value for MIDS JTRS radios to about $1.2 billion. ViaSat of Carlsbad, CA, was awarded a $90.8 million contract for the same radios, increasing its total contract value to $789 million.

The Naval Information Warfare System Command, formerly named SPAWAR, is the contracting authority. The Navy is the lead service on the JTRS program, which also includes the Air Force and Army.

The MIDS JTRS program of record is a four-channel radio that provides Link-16 and Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) capability, plus the ability to handle networking waveforms like the Soldier Radio Waveform and Wideband Networking Waveform, as well as future waveforms that meet the Joint Airborne Networking – Tactical Edge requirement. These waveforms are the heart of software-defined radios that can interoperate across handheld, vehicular, airborne, and maritime domains as nodes in a network for secure, wireless communications between U.S. forces and coalition partners.

The latest version of MIDS JTRS will have two new capabilities that will improve datalinkperformance: Link 16 four-channel Concurrent Multinetting with Concurrent Retention Receive (CMN-4), and Tactical Targeting Networking Technology (TTNT).

CMN-4 provides better digital receivers and buffering, as well as faster processors to allow aircraft to receive more Link 16 messages during periods of high message exchange demand.

TTNT will provide a larger throughput with lower latency, thereby enabling faster updates of precise information than Link 16. The Navy intends to use TTNT as one of the communications enablers for the Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air capability, an electronic backbone that is being developed to tie together Navy and Army missile defense networks. The DoD says it needs 3,370 more MIDS JTRS radios with these capabilities.

Radios procured under these two contracts will go to both the Navy and Air Force, as well as to the governments of Austria, Chile, Finland, Israel, Jordan, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It includes purchases to NATO nations under the Foreign Military Sales program.

The MIDS JTRS radios are replacing existing MIDS Low Volume Terminal (LVT) airborne radios, and have the same form factor.

MIDS LVT radios are the product of a cooperative development program among the Navy, Air Force, Army, and France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. They provide voice, TACAN and Link 16 capabilities to the F/A-18, but can’t host the new waveforms.
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[*] posted on 3-9-2019 at 09:25 AM


Domo Tactical Communications celebrates success trials in demonstrating its MANET Soldier Data Radio

Posted On Monday, 02 September 2019 13:37

Domo Tactical Communications (DTC), the wireless communications specialist, celebrates recent successes in trials demonstrating its SOL8SDR-H as a MANET Mesh Soldier Data Radio, proving compatibility with ATAK and other situational awareness applications.


MANET Mesh Soldier Data Radio (Picture source: DTC)

Sharing PLI, mapping data, voice, messaging and mission plans – and operating without the need for external infrastructure - gives users in the field a significant advantage. A well-informed warfighter can make better decisions to carry out their objective as efficiently as possible and without unnecessary risks.

The groundbreaking SOL8SDR-H Handheld Radio provides the possibility to operate in channel bandwidths down to 1.25MHz for extreme range performance at very low power making it the ideal choice for MANET Soldier Data Radios where reliability to communicate in the harshest of environments whilst maintaining LPI/LPD is imperative.

Truly software-defined and future-proofed, the SOL8SDR can host multiple waveforms as the mission evolves. In addition to MiMo and SiMo Mesh solutions, the SOL8SDR today can be a Unidirectional COFDM transmitter – including interoperable DVB-T modes – and a streaming COFDM receiver ideal for Remote Video Terminal (RVT) applications.

The SOL8SDR-H is designed to meet the requirements of applications where robust encrypted, mobile communication links are needed to provide enhanced situational awareness in the absence of fixed infrastructure. Targeting first responders, security and military personnel, the SDR-H utilises the DTC COFDM waveforms to provide High Bandwidth data in challenging, dynamic, Non-Line of Site (NLOS) environments where our users operate. It combines a familiar "Soldier Radio" physical form factor, robust construction and simplified user interface with the ability to use industry-standard battery packs, chargers and webbing pouches.
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[*] posted on 9-9-2019 at 05:36 PM


This Small Mesh Networking Device from goTenna Could Unblock Signal-Denied Warfare Environments

By Stephen W. Miller



"The goTenna Pro-X is ideally suited for providing situational awareness and simple text communication to the individual combat soldier. It links to other devices within the squad or team even off grid."

When a squad or small team enters an area with poor communications, their situational awareness and safety becomes subject to a cell or satellite signal that may be unreliable or even nonexistent.

As US Marine Corps Maj. General Mark Wise, Assistant Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration (CD&I), recently observed at an Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) briefing in July, “Mesh networks hold real potential in addressing the challenge of operating in a signal-denied environment.”

A low cost, lightweight mesh networking device from goTenna is becoming the likely solution for this challenge. The goTenna Pro X unit is a 79 gram radio transmitter/receiver that pairs via USB or Bluetooth connection to an end user’s iOS or Android device.

Within an ad hoc network of two or more (but typically around 20) units, goTenna’s mesh protocols support the exchange of near real-time position data, text-based messaging, and map markings in situational awareness applications such as ATAK, LifeRing, fiResponse, and goTenna’s own Pro application.

Staying on ATAK without connection to a centralized network
ATAK — the mobile app that’s quickly becoming the de facto blue force tracking system for the U.S. and other countries — requires a constant network connection that can be difficult or expensive to provide in off-grid environments. With goTenna, teams can now extend the app’s valuable location and communications capabilities beyond its expected reach.

Starting at $849 per unit, goTenna Pro X supports key ATAK features, including position location, chat, point sharing and routing with standard 2525B symbols, mission packs, as well as 9-line requests.

“Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can quickly connect to the goTenna network and become a node on ATAK,” said James Schueren, Vice President Institutional Business Development & Sales at goTenna. “This allows for rapid deployment to each individual soldier, but more importantly, a server backhaul to a variety of other networks for command and control.”

For teams fully off the grid, goTenna offers a Deployment Kit, which securely stores, charges, and transports up to 30 units in a ruggedized case and also acts an application server for radio frequency reprogramming and ATAK downloads.


The goTenna Deployment Kit provides a portable weather tight hard case that will carry and recharge up to 30 Pro-X as well as providing for frequency reprograming and app download.

Interoperability at a low cost

To date, the goTenna Pro X tactical communication system has been fielded and is in use by special and conventional military forces in the U.S., as well as smaller deployments with other countries. Law enforcement and emergency management agencies in the U.S. are also deploying the devices in their operations. For a fraction of the cost, many teams are gaining access to real-time operator information without increasing training or deployment efforts.

“For years, the communications market has been pushing for increased bandwidth that demands a heavier radio, with bigger batteries, more complexity, and a high cost,” said Schueren. “In a signal-denied warfare environment, we’re learning that the size, weight, and power impacts for those kinds of radios aren’t always the best fit for each individual dismounted soldier — let alone a multi-force mission.”


“The compactness, low weight and narrow form of the Pro-X allows it to be easily carried and used the individual.”

goTenna Pro X devices can be programmed on separate frequencies, permitting different teams to operate and transmit encrypted data without interference.

Exploring long-range possibilities

While goTenna reports a nominal network range of approximately 4km point to point, their mesh protocols allow for up to 6 hops across devices, thus considerably expanding their potential coverage area.

A team deployed inside a building or tunnel could also use individual Pro X units as standalone repeaters relaying transmission between the clearing team inside and those outside. This technology has also been tested as a complement for remote sensors and as a payload for small unmanned aerial systems.

With a compact form factor, proven adaptability, and an approachable price point, goTenna’s mesh networking device is an ideal communications solution to the challenges small tactical teams face in off-grid and signal-denied warfare environments.
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[*] posted on 11-9-2019 at 11:26 AM


Collins Aerospace Tackles Military Communication Challenges with New Wideband HF Communication System

(Source: Collins Aerospace Systems; issued Sept 10, 2019)


New wideband High Frequency (HF) communications system. (Picture source Collins Aerospace Systems)

LONDON --– Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp., has launched a new wideband High Frequency (HF) communications system that delivers reliable, high-speed data and clear digital voice beyond line of sight communications without needing satellites. Called Universal Radio Group (URG)-IV, the new portable ground station is being showcased for the first time at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) trade show in London on Sept. 10-13.

URG-IV features the latest 4G Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) technology, which automatically determines the optimal bandwidth for transmission and links much faster than legacy HF equipment. This makes it a more reliable and easier to use HF communications platform. Beyond clear voice communications, the URG-IV’s wideband HF capabilities also enable users to transmit images and use real-time chat functionality.

“The URG-IV provides an ideal alternative for communications in areas where warfighters are facing SATCOM denied and jammed environments,” said Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager, Communication, Navigation and Guidance Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “Modernized HF is an integral component of a communication system’s PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency) plan and helps maintain situational awareness on the battlefield.”

The URG-IV HF communications system is made up of the new RT-2200A wideband HF radio, the new PA-2010 power amplifier and ancillaries housed together in a moveable package. Combining the radio, power supplies and amplifiers provides beneficial redundancy and protection against failures, adding to the reliability of wideband HF communications. The URG-IV is a modernized version of the company’s URG-III HF communications system, which has provided customers reliable and quality communications for decades.

Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry. Created in 2018 by bringing together UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins, Collins Aerospace has the capabilities, comprehensive portfolio and expertise to solve customers’ toughest challenges and to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market.

United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries. By combining a passion for science with precision engineering, the company is creating smart, sustainable solutions the world needs.

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[*] posted on 12-9-2019 at 11:23 AM


L3Harris Technologies will deliver Falcon manpack and tactical radios to two European nations

Posted On Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:53

L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) has been awarded contracts from two European nations totaling more than $100 million for Falcon manpack and handheld tactical radios. Deliveries of the AN/PRC-158, AN/PRC-160, AN/PRC-152A and AN/PRC-117G radios are underway, with completion expected in 2020.


L3Harris Falcon II® AN/PRC-150(C) High Frequency Manpack Radio. (Picture source L3Harris)

The L3Harris AN/PRC-158 multi-channel manpack radio features a two-channel, software-defined architecture with integrated cross-banding between waveforms – providing new advanced capabilities while maintaining backward interoperability with legacy radios. The AN/PRC-160 is a stand-alone solution that provides data speeds up to 10 times greater than other existing high frequency radios. The AN/PRC-152A is a wideband networking handheld radio that provides simultaneous voice, video and data in a small form-factor, with ad-hoc capabilities. The AN/PRC-117G manpack is software defined, easily upgradeable with new waveforms such as MUOS, and is also NINE Suite B encrypted – allowing users to securely and easily interoperate with U.S., NATO and regional partners.

“Success in coalition operations depends on strong coalition partners and robust information sharing, from mission information down to voice communications,” said Keith Norton, Vice President, L3Harris Communication Systems. “These proven L3Harris radios are part of a series of overlapping European modernization programs to deliver advanced narrowband and wideband networking capabilities with greater interoperability for U.S. and other NATO allies during coalition operations.”
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[*] posted on 19-9-2019 at 11:30 AM


Inauguration of the Production Line of the CONTACT Software-Defined Radios Which Will Soon Equip the Forces

(Source: French defence procurement agency, DGA; issued Sept. 18, 2019)

(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

PARIS --- Joël Barre, Delegate-General for Armaments, inaugurated in Cholet on September 17, 2019 the production line of CONTACT software-defined radios, in the presence of Lt. Gen. Bernard Barrera, Adjutant-General of the Army, and of Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO of Thales.

8400 CONTACT radio stations are planned to be delivered to the French military during the 2019-2025 military planning law, most of them to the Army.

Awarded in 2012 to Thales by the Directorate-General for Armament as a contracting authority, the CONTACT contract aims to equip the forces with a high-speed, secure tactical radio communication system, based on radio equipment tailored to the specific needs of the various operational uses (infantrymen, vehicles, aircraft, ships). Unlike conventional networks, CONTACT does not use a fixed communication infrastructure, each radio being able to automatically relay information within a resilient network.

A true nervous system of future tactical exchanges, CONTACT will answer, for all the environments, the challenges of global connectivity with an open, secure and robust network. CONTACT will move from the era of command to voice to that of digital and broadband communications. It will be at the heart of the connectivity of land forces with Scorpion and Tigre, and air forces with Rafale, MRTT, Guépard and many others.

Being already interoperable with standardized radio protocols and based on an open radio architecture, CONTACT will also make decisive improvements in joint and combined deployments, notably thanks to the future European ESSOR standard.

CONTACT radios were designed in France by Thales, which has plants in Gennevilliers, Cholet and Brive. The development of the software radio range today represents a workload that supports 300 jobs at the Cholet site.

For the production of the CONTACT positions, Thales relies on a supply chain of more than 900 SMEs / ETI.

CONTACT radio systems will replace PR4G radios that have been a technical and commercial success, with 150,000 radios exported to 43 countries. CONTACT radios have already been sold to Belgium as part of the CaMo government partnership to equip the Belgian army.

The technical qualification by the DGA of the CONTACT radio system is scheduled for the end of 2019.

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[*] posted on 23-9-2019 at 09:33 PM


Domo Tactical Communications launches new IP mesh waveform

Giles Ebbutt, London - Jane's International Defence Review

22 September 2019


The Domo Tactical Communications SOL8SDR-C MiMo mesh radio module can host the new MeshUltra waveform and is claimed to be the world’s smallest MiMo mesh radio. Source: Giles Ebbutt

Domo Tactical Communications (DTC) has developed a new waveform called the MeshUltra wireless tactical IP mesh waveform, which it showcased at DSEI 2019 in London in September with an eye on addressing dismounted soldier communications.

DTC product director Rob Garth told Jane's that UltraMesh, which had been tested extensively, is designed for mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) and military robotic applications and brings together several new mesh features.

For example, the number of mesh nodes has been increased from 20 to a minimum of 64. However, he said that the number of supported mesh nodes was increasing and was confident that DTC could meet the requirement for 120 nodes that the British Army was looking for in its Dismounted Situational Awareness programme.

The available data rates is being increased, with a 20 MHz bandwidth mesh node available that provides a throughput of up to 87 Mbps. Garth said an important development was the availability of different operating bandwidths, ranging from 1.25 MHz up to the full 20 MHz, adding that the narrower bandwidths offer greater sensitivity and range for applications that do not require high data rates.

Garth also noted that there had recently been increased interest in mesh networking for dismounted soldier application, pointing out that this mainly required the passing of situational awareness information rather than video and that the narrower channels were ideally suited for this. This reduces power consumption and therefore lowers the probability of detection, intercept and exploitation (LPD/LPI/LPE). It also provides longer battery life, lower weight, and less heat, he added.

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[*] posted on 26-9-2019 at 09:46 AM


Production Begins on the Military Radio of the Future

(Source: Thales; issued Sept 24, 2019)

On September 17 in Cholet, Thales inaugurated a state-of-the art CONTACT radio production facility In the presence of Patrice Caine, Marc Darmon, EVP Thales, Bernard Barrera, Lieutenant General of the French army, and Joël Barre, Chief Executive of the DGA (French defence procurement agency). The inauguration of this production line is the culmination of six years of development following the award of the tactical radio contract by the DGA in 2012.

The CONTACT programme includes the development, production and support of secure military radio communications systems for the French armed forces. Over the duration of the contract it will include the fabrication of 25,000 radio posts and 10 years of support.

With CONTACT, Thales is taking a decisive technological step for connected collaborative combat. This programme, unique in Europe, brings a real system dimension with the networking of combat platforms, sensors and effectors.

The tactical aspect of the programme plays a key role in the SCORPION collaborative combat system, thanks to real-time and high-speed communications between sensors and effectors integrated in the vetronic systems and information systems in the Griffon multi-role armoured vehicle and and Jaguar Armored Reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle. The aerial component provides aero connectivity, particularly in the context of the Rafale F4 and more generally in the Future Air Combat System.

To meet the demands of this large-scale high-tech programme as well as future export needs, Thales has invested in the development of a Factory 4.0 facility in Cholet.

The facility will produce 100 radios each month, at roughly a rate of one piece of equipment every two hours. Production for the aeronautical aspects of the programme will be assured at a later date on the Group’s site in Brive. The programme implicates today around 1000 people across the SIX GBU, and is a generator of employment. The Group is currently recruiting around 100 new collaborators to work on the programme.

On September 17, the Group’s senior management and representatives from the programme procurement agency and the end client, were joined at the ceremony to mark the start of production of this new facility by Jean-Pascal Laporte, Director of the Industrial Competence Centre in Cholet, Laurent Morin, Director of the CONTACT Programme at Thales, and Hervé Derrey, SVP COO SIX.

Following the introductory presentations and traditional ribbon cutting ceremony, the invited guests and journalists were given a tour of the new facility where they also had the opportunity to meet some of the people working on the production of the CONTACT radio systems.

"Opening a military radio production line only happens every 20 years," said Patrice Caine

The CONTACT programme and future tactical radio

The CONTACT programme involves the design and production of 'revolutionary' new radio sets, equipment and systems. This equipment will allow the immediate transmission of information in all its forms (voice, video, chat, broadband data ...) to all soldiers in a theater of operations, cutting drastically the time needed to plan missions and take decisions.

Beyond CONTACT in France itself, the challenge of this unique programme is to renew the Group's product portfolio in the field of collaborative tactical, aeronautical and naval software radio. This new solution is marketed worldwide as SYNAPS.

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[*] posted on 26-9-2019 at 01:27 PM


Barrett PRC-4090 Generates Interest at DSEI

At DSEI 2019 in London earlier this month, Australian communications specialist Barrett Communications generated significant interest in its PRC-4090, the company told MON.

The Barrett PRC-4090 is the tactical HF software-defined radio (SDR), which is the lightest military grade HF transceiver on the market at only 2.95kg, with multiple battery options offering gross operational weight from 3.95kg to 5.0kg. It is a multi-configured system offering manpack, mobile and base station configurations, with selectable power outputs of 10, 30, 125 and 150 Watts.

“The PRC-4090 is the most advanced fully software-defined transceiver and remains true to the Barrett ethos of designing transceivers that provide intuitive ease of use. The software-designed architecture enables a multi-language touch screen software interface with English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian as standard. We believe it offers the market an exciting new HF range and an innovative operator experience,” explained company CEO, Andrew Burt.

The unique design of the control handset incorporates a toughened 24-bit colour LCD touchscreen display and button control, customisable for use in various ambient light conditions. The transceiver can also be operated with the standard H250 handsets and tactical headsets.

Extended operation time with low RX current consumption is also an improved feature of the PRC-4090 transceiver: with current consumption of 250MA, it operates in RX only mode for up to 64 hours and RX/TX at 90/10 duty cycle for up to 21 hours.


The PRC-4090 brings accustomed Barrett innovation to fresh potential raft of applications. (Photo: Barrett Communications)

Published: 24 September 2019
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[*] posted on 17-10-2019 at 09:13 PM


AUSA 2019: L3Harris delivers new handheld combat radio to USSOCOM

Carlo Munoz, Washington, DC - Jane's International Defence Review

16 October 2019

L3Harris has begun low-rate initial production (LRIP) deliveries of the AN/PRC-163 two-channel handheld combat radio to US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), with company officials anticipating deliveries of full production models to begin within months.

“We have delivered a number of [LRIP] units there and we are about to transition into full rate production, after successful testing” of the LRIP units, Dana Mehnert, president of communication systems at L3Harris, said. The company is the sole source provider to USSOCOM for the two-channel handheld radio. He declined to comment on the specific number of LRIP radios delivered to command officials. “It is a significant number,” Mehnert told Jane’s on 14 October.

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[*] posted on 19-10-2019 at 01:01 PM


AUSA 19: L3Harris reveals HalcyonLink interference cancellation solution

Giles Ebbutt, Washington, DC - Jane's International Defence Review

18 October 2019

L3Harris has developed a device designed to mitigate the effect of co-site interference between communications devices and electronic warfare (EW) equipment, and revealed it at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting in Washington, DC, in October.

HalcyonLink restores communications that would otherwise be blocked by an EW system, such as a counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) system operating from the same platform as a tactical radio. An L3Harris representative told Jane's that it had been developed for the US Army under the Interference Cancellation - Light (IC-Light) programme.

The system uses L3Harris's Advanced Interference Mitigation System, which works by sampling the outgoing interfering radio frequency (RF) signal and creating a mirror image of it with the same characteristics, such as phase and amplitude.

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[*] posted on 20-12-2019 at 09:53 PM


Yes, a balloon/kite might improve battlefield networks

By: Kelsey D. Atherton   10 hours ago


This helikite was used as a communications relay in the Recognized Environmental Picture (Maritime Unmanned Systems) NATO exercise in Portugal in September 2019. (Still from NATO video)

The ideal battlefield network is so ever-present as to be unnoticeable. While the ubiquity of coverage people expect in civilian spaces is unlikely to be matched in combat, new communications tools hope to extend that power to military. One such device is the Helikite aerostat.

The Helikite is a combination helium balloon and kite, in which both parts work together to provide stability and lift. Held in place by a tether, the Helikite can lift a payload to an altitude of up to 7,000 feet. Payloads range from video cameras to communications relays. The British and U.S. militaries have tested military Helikites with cameras, some even with targeting equipment as well.

In September 2019, NATO tested the Helikites as part of the Recognized Environmental Picture (Maritime Unmanned Systems) (REP(MUS)) exercise in Portugal.

For REP(MUS), the Helikites carried mobile ad-hoc network relays, expanding the range of connection between human operators and piloted drones, like the Puma, which streamed video to Portuguese marines as they performed a beach storming exercise. In addition, the Helikites provided a communications link to uncrewed surface vessels, helping extend the range at which the robots could be controlled and commanded.

Lighter-than-air craft have a long history of military use, though the vulnerabilities of a flying bag of gas are not to be discounted.

Consider, for the moment, the Goodyear Inflatoplane, a Cold War oddity of a soft-body aircraft designed primarily as a means to help downed pilots fly back home to freedom. Despite testing proving that the unique pressurization of the Infaloplane’s body could maintain integrity even when punctured six times by .30 caliber bullets, the perception remained that it was an aircraft which could be disabled by a single well-placed shot from a bow-and-arrow.

Without the safety of an onboard pilot to worry about, the helikite can match a degree of expendability to its light body and useful payload.

“These Helikites can lift surveillance equipment above the range of small arms fire,” write Helikite makers Airborne Communications Ltd, “effectively making Helikites unassailable to most common threats.”

When it comes to designing systems for the future of warfare, a repurposing of old physical frames with new technological payloads can go a long way to delivering that major technological triumph: a communications network so durable, the people using it barely have to think about it not existing.
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[*] posted on 20-12-2019 at 11:22 PM


Army Testing New Tactical Network Capabilities

12/20/2019

By Connie Lee


Photo: Army

The Army’s stock of radios and other tactical communications systems is slated for an upgrade.

Over the next few years, the service plans on improving its tactical network by fielding new sets of capabilities on a biennial basis. Through a series of experiments, the Army has begun using soldier feedback to determine what its future communications systems will look like on tomorrow’s battlefields. National Defense recently sat down with a group of officials to discuss the service’s vision.

“It is completely an iterative process,” said Col. Rob Ryan, deputy director of the Army’s network cross-functional team, which is spearheading the modernization effort.

“There’s no shot clock in how we do this because what is your iPhone going to look like in 2030? You don’t know how [you are] going to communicate in 2030.”

Col. Garth Winterle, project manager for tactical radios and integrated tactical network, said the service plans to field new capability sets to four brigade combat teams in fiscal year 2021, five BCTs in fiscal year 2022, and then six BCTs per year starting in fiscal year 2023.

The service will begin focusing on fielding new capabilities and equipment to light infantry units, then switch to Stryker and armored brigades in 2023.

“There’s some simplicity to it and there’s some difficulty with it,” Ryan said. “Strykers are relatively newer, one of the newer things we have on the battlefield. Bradleys and tanks have been around for a while, so we have some really good challenges.”

However, the service will still be able to build on the work done in the previous capability sets because Strykers will move around dismounted soldiers, Winterle noted.

“The infantry dismounts in a Stryker brigade are going to use very similar soldier-worn equipment,” he said. But the Stryker provides additional advantages because it can take on heavier network equipment and provide access to more power, he noted. “There’s a lot of things we can then add to that vehicle that I wouldn’t be able to do on … a light vehicle.”

The “backbone” of capability set 21 is the current Leader Radio and Manpack Radio, he noted. The service will also add commercial-off-the-shelf, nondevelopmental item solutions.

“A lot of it is kit that’s already part of programs of record,” said Col. Shane Taylor, project manager for tactical network.

However, some improvements may be made to these existing systems through engineering change proposals or modification work orders, he noted.

To define a fielding strategy and determine how the Army wants to improve the tactical network, the service has been conducting experiments with new equipment. These systems were tested with the Army’s new security force assistance brigade in Afghanistan so the service could obtain soldier feedback in theater, Winterle said. That feedback provided by the units will help the service determine how it will adjust and apply the technologies to infantry brigade combat team operations.

The Army already knew that some of the legacy equipment didn’t work well, Winterle said. For instance, the service prefers newer mesh networks over the old Soldier Radio Waveform.

The service also held a preliminary design review in May to see if there were commercial-off-the-shelf solutions that are ready to be fielded now, Winterle said. Through the review, “we’ve kind of locked in the design of the architecture” and examined what capabilities or improvements the Army may want to add to its current stock of tactical communications systems, he said.

One of the major potential changes includes having units at the battalion level and below operate at the unclassified level, he noted. The service wants to have more secure unclassified radios, which would be more affordable than classified systems. The Army may also run mission command platforms on vehicles at a lower classification level, he noted.

Studies show that most tactical information at the battalion level and below is unclassified, he noted. By changing the systems’ classification levels, soldiers would have more flexibility for participating in multinational or coalition exercises. And it is expected to make the network simpler, he noted.

“We’re executing a network architecture that moves most of those to secure or unclassified in order to kind of provide us [with] a better range of options for the commander on the ground,” Winterle said.

However, these platforms will still be encrypted to ensure they are secure.

“The reality of it is we’ve probably been over-classifying our networks and making it more complicated and more expensive in the past,” Winterle noted. “We are going to have different classification boundaries out there and we have to be cognizant of where those are and put basically stopgaps in place to make sure there’s no spillage across that network.”

The teams are also pursuing different types of servers down to the battalion level to increase the mobility of the unit. Typically, battalions need to rely on a brigade headquarters, but integrating new servers would eliminate that need.

“The brigade would have to be out in the field for all the battalions to be able to talk to each other,” he said. “This sort of breaks that paradigm by moving some of that compute [capability] down to the battalions … so they can operate independently.”

There are also additional ways to connect or extend system ranges. The Army has tethered drones that can elevate radios 200 or 300 feet in the air for better connectivity and data throughput, Winterle noted.

Ryan said the Army wants its tactical communications network to have modular systems so it can make quick upgrades.

“If I have modular systems, I’m not pulling out necessarily the whole system — maybe a part of this system of systems — and that allows us creativity and allows us modernization,” he said. As the service moves ahead in its capability sets, it will need to build upon previously fielded equipment.

Additionally, implementing the integrated tactical network platforms through capability sets rather than focusing on acquisition category programs ensures the Army is not wed to a single solution long term, Taylor noted. The service hopes to make fixes and changes to its systems quickly as it moves through the process of developing its vision for the future tactical network.

Multiple companies are contributing equipment to the experiments. The service is trying to stay away from sole-source vendors, Winterle said. Following the experiments, the Army will still competitively award procurement contracts unless there is “absolutely only one vendor” that can provide a capability, he noted.

The service will also leverage its science-and-technology work and see if it can bring in multiple small businesses and academia for support, Ryan said.

“If we can do that, we can keep this site picture as wide as we can,” he said. “We can see best of brand and that’s what we’re after.”

Previously, the Army was able to test new and emerging network technologies through its yearly Network Integration Evaluation event, which ended in late 2018 after about seven years.

However, the service still plans to hold large-scale evaluations by holding a brigade-size demonstration for every capability set before “locking down” what it wants, Winterle said.

A two-week demonstration will be held in February with the 82nd Airborne Division. A battalion will be outfitted with new tactical network technologies and act as an opposing force against another battalion.

The Army is executing these demonstrations within the resources it has available to them, but Winterle said he predicts the demonstration for the 2023 capability set will be conducted with a full battalion of Strykers and an armored brigade headquarters.

“It’s not NIE — we don’t have those kind of resources — but it’s an opportunity to bring in … early prototypes to see, ‘OK, is this useful in the field at a small scale in that concept of operations?’” Winterle said. “I can bring in upgrades to my programs of record and they can actually be demonstrated and executed at the same time at the brigade level.”

The Army will also use smaller exercises throughout the year such as battle lab events to test new capabilities and will continue to hold industry engagements, he noted.

“We’re going to leverage every single opportunity we have to get capabilities into soldiers’ hands and get immediate feedback,” he said.

Currently, the service is examining potential technologies using Defense Logistics Agency contracts to conduct “on-ramping events,” Winterle said. This would allow companies to show their products and potentially participate in week-long assessments to determine if they are viable to put on contract.

“If I have three vendors that show up to that assessment, I could — and probably will — focus on trying to buy from all three vendors and get those into different units [to see],
‘OK, which one’s better? What do I like about this radio?’” he said.

However, the goal is to move towards indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts in fiscal year 2021, Winterle said.
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[*] posted on 27-12-2019 at 12:47 PM


Hanwha Systems to supply third batch of TICN systems for South Korean military

Gabriel Dominguez, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

26 December 2019

South Korea’s Hanwha Systems announced on 26 December that it was awarded a KRW468.6 billion (USD403 million) contract to supply additional equipment for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces’ Tactical Information Communication Network (TICN).

The contract, which was signed two days earlier with South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), is for the third batch of TICN systems for the country’s military, following a successful initial production run, which concluded in December 2016, and the completion of delivery of the second batch in 2019, which featured upgrades to the network’s combat radios.

Delivery of the third batch of TICN-related equipment is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, said the company in a statement.

(116 of 279 words)
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[*] posted on 15-1-2020 at 10:17 PM


Northrop Demos Radio, Possible Multi Domain Key

The Northrop Grumman radio will provide one-stop access to four types of radio communications widely used by all services for air-to-air and air-to-ground communications.


By Theresa Hitchens

on January 13, 2020 at 4:27 PM


Multi-Domain Operations, Army Training & Doctrine Command image

WASHINGTON: Northrop Grumman has won a $14.5 million chance to prove to the Air Force that its design for a new radio would allow operators to use multiple US and allied data links and help the service realize its plans for the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).

Importantly, the new Software Programmable Open Mission Systems (OMS) Compliant (known as SPOC) radio terminal will allow the Air Force to rapidly develop and prototype upgrades or change or to third-party contractors to do so. In other words, the software code is not proprietary to Northrop Grumman.

“Our solution for SPOC provides a mature hardware and software development kit that allows the Air Force to rapidly develop and prototype innovative communications solutions from any provider on an open architecture networking terminal that can be quickly taken into flight test and production,” Roshan Roeder, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s communications, airborne sensors and networks division, said in a company release.

“With the Air Force taking responsibility for developing the airborne communications network infrastructure for the Advanced Battle Management System, SPOC radio will allow the Air Force to rapidly develop, test, fly and iterate,” she added.

As Breaking D readers know, the Air Force — and DoD writ large — continues to struggle to allow myriad communications terminals designed for one platform (i.e., the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter) to talk to other weapon systems. A major obstacle with most systems is that the software code is owned by the company that developed it. This is a particular problem for satellite communications terminals and ground stations because, while the Air Force is responsible for satellite acquisition and operating the networks, the other services — especially the Army — actually buy the terminals and antennas that allow troops on the ground and at sea to use the networks.

While already acute, this problem is looming even larger as the Air Force pushes development of ABMS as a key node in DoD’s effort to solidify plans for the development of a Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) system. JADC2, if successful, will link all sensors and shooters at all levels of military operations (from troops in the field to four-stars at combatant command headquarters) to underpin multi-domain operations (MDO).

The Northrop Grumman radio will provide one-stop access to four types of radio frequency communications widely used by all services and some allies for air-to-air and air-to-ground communications:

- Link-16 CMN-4, an upgrade to the ubiquitous communications link used by military aircraft, ships, and ground forces to exchange tactical information in near-real time, developed by Naval Information Warfare Systems Command;
- Common Data Link (CDL), one of the oldest (dating from the 1990s) secure military communications protocols that serves as a primary link for sharing imagery and signals intelligence;
- Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), which Breaking D readers know is the hard-to-detect waveform used by the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which can unfortunately only talk to other F-35s; and,
- Multi User Objective System (MUOS), the narrowband, ultra-high frequency satellite communications network developed by the Navy, but used by all the services for mobile communications.


The “open architecture networking terminal offers numerous benefits” to the Air Force, according to Northrop Grumman, “including opening the F-35 communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system to third-party developers; ownership of Link 16 development; sharing of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information over a common data link; and Mobile User Objective System beyond line of sight capability.”
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[*] posted on 22-1-2020 at 07:53 PM


22 January 2020 News

Comtech wins order from US DoD contractor for satellite modems


Comtech will deliver the DMD2050E Satellite Modem to support the US Army PM Tactical Network. Credit: Spc. Joseph A Wilson.

Comtech Telecommunications subsidiary Comtech EF Data has secured an order from a major US Department of Defense (DoD) contractor for satellite modems.

Comtech EF Data is part of Comtech’s Commercial Solutions segment.

As part of the order, Comtech EF Data will deliver the DMD2050E MIL-STD-188-165A/STANAG 4486 Edition 3 Compliant Universal Satellite Modem to support the US Army Project Manager (PM) Tactical Network.

Comtech Telecommunications president and CEO Fred Kornberg said: “We are honoured to continue supplying SATCOM infrastructure equipment that enables cohesive mission command for the US Army’s unified tactical network.”

Designed to comply with US Government and commercial standards, the DMD2050E Satellite Modem is compatible with the largest number of satellite modems in the industry.

It is also fully compliant with MIL-STD-188-165A (all terminal types) and complies with STANAG 4486 Edition 3, and the IESS-308, IESS-309, IESS-310 and IESS-315 commercial standards.
PM Tactical Network, which develops and supports unified network, continues to improve the US Army’s tactical network by improving the way it is operated, managed and defended across all domains.

Additionally, it enables mission command and secure reliable voice, video and data communications from the home station to the tactical edge of the battlefield, during all stages of operation.

Last October, Comtech EF Data secured an order from an unidentified European country’s ministry of defence (MoD) to supply DMD2050E Satellite Modems for deployment at the MoD’s teleports in Europe and the Caribbean.

The US Army PM Tactical Network had awarded new orders to Comtech Telecommunications in August 2018 for the delivery of Manpack Satellite Terminals and networking equipment.
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[*] posted on 23-1-2020 at 07:48 PM


How the Army and Air Force are linking comms

By: Mark Pomerleau   7 hours ago


The Army and Air Force are starting to partner on building common frameworks for networks and communications systems. . (Dan LaFontaine/U.S. Army)

Military leaders have said future battlefields will be contested and congested, an environment that will require the seamless transfer of data between networks, systems, platforms and especially U.S. military services.

Now, at the direction of the Joint Staff, the services are beginning to work together on common frameworks for networks under the banner of what the Department of Defense is calling Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).

“It’s not a system, it’s not a program, it’s not a bunch of buzzwords, it’s reality. It’s what the senior [leaders] of the Department of Defense are expecting all the services to deliver,” Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, director of the Army’s network cross functional team, said at an AFCEA conference Jan. 21.

JADC2 “started about last July. That’s what we are going to deliver with our network modernization strategy.”

The Army and Air Force are partnering in the network space, as first reported by Breaking Defense.

Gallagher told C4ISRNET that over the past few months the Army had begun to engage with the Air Force at the colonel level, but more recently representatives from Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (C3T), the Mission Command Center of Excellence and the Futures and Concepts Center have gone to various Air Force bases for meetings and demonstrations.

Gallagher as well as Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the head of C3T, went to Eglin Air Force Base at the end of last year for a demonstration of the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). Then a few weeks ago, Gallagher, Gen. John Murray, the leader of Army Futures Command, and other Army leaders went to Nellis Air Force Base to learn more about Air Force efforts.

ABMS is the Air Force architecture to connect a variety of platforms.

Bassett told C4ISRNET that Pentagon leaders recognize that no single service contribution will be able to meet all the needs for the joint force. As a result, teams are cooperating on a common concept.

“There are some things that can be common across the joint force and we’re absolutely committed to working with the other services to identify what elements of the architecture can be common,” Bassett said. “We’re working predominantly with the Air Force here, early on, as they look at their ABMS architecture. We’re looking at areas where we can bring Army solutions to show that they can become part of that in an interoperable and seamless way.”

ABMS is the Air Force’s contribution while the Army’s tactical network modernization effort is its piece.

The integrated tactical network is made up of a mix of existing programs of record and commercial off-the-shelf capabilities and is expected to improve communications and situational awareness from command post to the tactical edge. Portions of it will be delivered to units every two years adding in more capability as technology matures.

Bassett said other areas the Army envisions as potential contributions are the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node — a new Army program that is billed as the service’s generation ground control station — on the sensor side, the Command Post Computing Environment and the data fabric the Army wants to build as it approaches its capability set for 2023.

The Army has also begun to partner with the Marine Corps to ensure they have strong links with their ground partners as well. Already, senior leaders have plans for near term future meetings to work on the technical parameters of a new common network architecture.

Gallagher said ultimately there won’t be one primary system, but rather a series of systems that are interconnected.

“What are those application processing interfaces needed in the architecture and network design that’s going to allow the data to flow so over time this aspirational goal of any sensor any shooter any C2 node near real time with the right authorities,” he said, adding this is still all very notional. “I think the ability to set your computing environment on echelon and with common standards is going to allow that to flow.”

PEO C3T has shared some of its technical information such as application processing interfaces and software development kits with key stakeholders, Gallagher said.

“There’s some areas where the Army has been leaning forward very heavily and others where the Air Force, I think, is establishing very clean, clear framework for the way they envision data flowing,” Bassett said. “We’re in the process of iterating on that”

Ultimately, this comes down to being a better and more integrated joint force fighting toward a common goal.

“We’ve got to get past buzzwords and bumper stickers and get down to the brass tacks of what are the technical specifications and how are we going to interface as a joint force,” Gallagher said.
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[*] posted on 23-1-2020 at 08:00 PM


Viasat wins Air Force contract worth up to $90M for new radios

By: Chiara Vercellone   11 hours ago


A BATS-D communications device is connected to a tablet and the Link 16 network. (Viasat, screenshot via YouTube).

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force has awarded Viasat a contract worth as much as $90 million to provide special warfare airmen new handheld radios, according to a Jan. 21 press release from the company.

Under an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, which runs through 2023, Viasat will provide its Battlefield Awareness Targeting System-Dismounted (BATS-D) handheld Link 16 radios, which give warfighters access to real-time, secure and reliable communication for enhanced close air support communications. Viasat will also provide operator training and maintenance. The contract came from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

"We continue to see strong demand for [the radios’] use across multiple military branches, and among coalition partners as it has the proven ability to significantly enhance situational awareness, improve mission coordination and accelerate decision timelines in a multi-domain battlespace,” said Ken Peterman, president of government systems at Viasat.

Link 16 is a tactical data exchange network that provides a picture of where friendly and enemy forces are located, allowing the military to share a common understanding of the battlefield. Military leaders rely on Link 16 as a critical tool in identifying friend from foe in the heat of a battle.

The radio features direct voice communications with other Link 16 users, which “dramatically shortens the kill chain and decreases the risk of fratricide,” according to Viasat.

In 2019, Viasat announced it had shipped its 1,000th BATS-D radio. To date, Over 2,000 BATS-D radios have been shipped to U.S. warfighters worldwide, according to the release.

In 2018, the National Security Agency authorized Viasat to immediately open the use of the radios to members of Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The training and maintenance will take place in Carlsbad, California through December 31, 2023, according to the Department of Defense.
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[*] posted on 13-2-2020 at 04:02 PM


Army to invest $3B in new handheld radios

By: Mark Pomerleau   11 hours ago


The Army is asking for more money from last year to help procure systems in order to deliver the first instantiation of a new network concept next year. (Spc. Jordan Buck/Army)

The Army wants to spend more than $3 billion to buy new Handheld Manpack Radios over the next four years, according to budget documents released Feb. 10.

That’s about $450 million more than Army officials projected they would spend on the radios during the same time period in budget documents last year.

The radios are a key element to what the service calls the integrated tactical network, the concept behind the Army’s modernized battlefield network which will incrementally add capabilities units every two years beginning in 2021. The Army will invest in the 2-channel Leader radio, the Manpack radio and the Rifleman radio. L3Harris and Thales are the primary contractors for the Leader and Rifleman radios while Collins Aerospace and L3Harris are the primary contractors for the Manpack radios.

The radios are arguably the most visible piece as the Army revamps its battlefield network. That effort is expected to cost roughly $9.6 billion over the next five years.

For fiscal year 2021, Army leaders requested $550 million in procurement funds for the radios. That money will be used for Leader radios for five brigade combat teams, according to budget documents.

In addition, budget documents show the Army anticipates procurement spending of $687 million in fiscal year 2022, $836 million in 2023 and $989 million in 2024.

The Army said in the budget request that it plans to test two-channel technologies using the existing Manpack radios to demonstrate of air to ground communication. It also plans to evaluate a single-channel radio that runs an advanced networking waveform.

Meanwhile, the budget request outlines a series of other projects the Army wants to take to improve its battlefield network.

The Army wants to modernize command posts to make them more mobile and survivable in contested environments. The service plans to spend a total of $108.4 million for the Command Post Integrated Infrastructure in fiscal year 2021. On the procurement side, the program will conduct tests from prototypes to inform increment 1 purchasing decisions. The research and development part of that money calls for work on the program’s second increment, which include designing, developing and integrating network and platforms to support three command post variants: mobile command posts, command post support vehicles and mobile command group platforms.

In addition, Army leaders requested $122.4 million in fiscal 2021 for the Command Post Computing Environment, a web-enabled system that collapses several command post functions into a single user interface.

For another program that creates a common operational environment front, the Army is asking for $18.6 million in research and development for the Mounted Computing Environment, which will replace the Joint Battle Command-Platform in the future. Those funds will support the incorporation of new software and hardware to replace JBC-P and fund integration, system engineering, interfaces, new software implementations and initial test instrumentation and experimentation/developmental test events.
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[*] posted on 18-2-2020 at 11:34 AM


Bittium continues ESSOR wafeform porting to Finnish Defence Force SDR Radios

Posted On Monday, 17 February 2020 14:29

Bittium has received a purchase order from the Finnish Defence Forces to continue porting the European ESSOR (European Secure SOftware-defined Radio) program’s OC1 (Operational Capability 1) wideband waveform to the Bittium Tough SDR radios that will be delivered to the Finnish Defence Forces.


(Picture source: Bittium )

The order is a continuation to the ESSOR waveform porting order received in 2019. With the current purchase order, the porting proceeds from design phase to implementation phase. The porting of the waveform to the national software-defined radios enables compatibility between radios used in European coalition operations, in accordance with the goals of the ESSOR programme.

The ESSOR OC1 phase has continued the ESSOR programme, started in 2009, with the aim of enhancing the operational capabilities of the ESSOR High Data Rate Waveform (HDR WF) meant for joint operations of different national troops. The Bittium Tough SDR products can flexibly use the most suitable and best performing waveform, such as the ESSOR HDR Waveform, Bittium TAC WIN Waveform™ and Bittium Narrowband Waveform™. Using several waveforms, even simultaneously, improves compatibility and enables operations on different levels and missions.

The value of the purchase order is approximately EUR 1.6 million (excl. VAT). With the purchase order, the Finnish Defence Forces are taking up an option for the year 2020 from a purchase order announced in a press release on April 5, 2019. The corresponding work will be carried out during the year 2020. The purchase order does not affect Bittium's financial outlook for the year 2020 published in the Financial Statement Bulletin 2019 on February 13, 2020.

The Bittium Tough SDR product family of tactical radios consists of Bittium Tough SDR Handheld™, tactical handheld radio for individual soldiers, and Bittium Tough SDR Vehicular™, tactical radio for vehicle installations. Bittium Tough SDR products help to produce and share real time situational awareness (location, image, voice, video, and sensor data) to all levels of the organization. This improves the performance and the effectiveness of the tactical troops, and leading the troops is easier based on the up-to-date situational awareness and more reliable connections. The uniquely wide range of frequency bands in the radios improves combat survivability.

Using several waveforms, even simultaneously, improves compatibility and enables operations on different levels and missions. Together with the SDR based Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ (TAC WIN) system, used for forming a tactical broadband mobile IP backbone network, it is possible to bring broadband data and voice to all mobile troops starting from brigade level and all the way across the battlefield.

The aim of the ESSOR program is to develop the European Software Defined Radio technology in order to improve the capabilities for cooperation in coalition operations. The program was started in 2009 under the umbrella of the European Defense Agency (EDA)‎, has been sponsored by the governments of Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Sweden, and was awarded by the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement (OCCAR) to the dedicated joint venture Alliance for ESSOR (a4ESSOR S.A.S.) to be in charge of managing the industrial consortium.

The members of the industrial consortium are Bittium from Finland, Indra from Spain, Leonardo from Italy, Radmor from Poland, and Thales from France. The first phase of the programme was successfully completed in 2015. In addition to the European High Data Rate Waveform, the first phase of the program produced and validated the definition for the European Software Defined Radio Architecture which was ported and qualified on six different European platforms. Since 2017, the program has continued with the ESSOR Operational Capability 1 (OC1) phase, which aims to enhance the operational capabilities of the ESSOR High Data Waveform (HDR WF).
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[*] posted on 28-2-2020 at 01:00 PM


New Link-16 Radios to Connect Ground, Air

2/26/2020

By Mandy Mayfield


Photo: ViaSat

Viasat recently inked a deal with the Air Force to provide Link 16-capable handheld radios to warfighters.

The five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract was awarded to the California-based communications company to supply the service with handheld battlefield awareness and targeting system dismounted, or BATS-D, radios. Link-16 is a network used by U.S. and coalition forces to pass information and provide situational awareness.

The devices were designed to improve communication between air and ground forces by giving warfighters real-time, secure access to information.

The radios were created before the Defense Department called for the capability, said Andy Kessler, vice president and business area director for Viasat.

There was “a demand signal from operational warfighters that said they needed a way to effectively do digitally aided close-air support more efficiently [and] more quickly,” he said.

The company created a radio to meet the mission requirements, Kessler said.

“Essentially we took the initiative to develop it based upon our understanding of what the market would need, and then we went ahead and brought that to a variety of different customers,” he added.

The concept for the capability was developed in late 2015 — and in less than 18 months the company had prototype radios in the hands of operational users, communicating with aircraft to gather feedback.

“I would argue that that is probably an order of magnitude faster than a typical program of record,” Kessler said. A traditional program of record with the Defense Department could have an eight- to 10-year evolution, he added.

The company has shipped approximately 2,500 of the handheld radios to personnel worldwide.

The contract was awarded in December and covers associated operator training and maintenance, the company said in a press release.

Viasat was also awarded a contract last year to build a low-Earth orbit satellite equipped with a Link 16-capable terminal.
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[*] posted on 28-2-2020 at 05:47 PM


Germany picks its lead vendor for European tactical radio program

By: Sebastian Sprenger   6 hours ago


An Afghan man walks past a German Bundeswehr soldier talking on the radio near Camp Marmal on September 25, 2010, in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. In early 2020, Germany joined a European effort to develop a new generation of interoperable radio equipment. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

COLOGNE, Germany – The German defense ministry has designated radio specialist Rohde und Schwarz as the national lead toward the development of a tactical radio for European land forces.

The designation follows German lawmakers' approval late last year to join the European Secure Software Defined Radio, or ESSOR. The project aims to unify radio equipment operated by land forces on the continent, eventually replacing national variants with a common system.

Having hardware that allows multinational troops to communicate seamlessly on the battlefield is a key premise of the European Union’s push for greater military prowess. The ESSOR program, founded in 2008, is managed by OCCAR, a pan-European defense-acquisition agency.

Besides Germany, the other members of the radio program are Finland, France, Italy, Poland and Spain. Their national industry leads are, respectively, Bittium, Thales, Leonardo, Radmor and Indra. All companies are represented in the a4ESSOR joint venture.

Rohde und Schwarz joins the effort as the “Operational Capability 1” phase, centered on a high data rate waveform, has been underway since 2017. That stage “defines the joint development and updating of an interoperable, trustworthy, robust and wideband radio waveform for connected armed forces,” the company said in a statement.

The Munich-based company plans to bring its SOVERON D radio to the program, which is slated for delivery to the German armed forces sometime this year.

The European radio program also has its feet in the pool of PESCO initiatives, designed to foster multinational defense projects within the bloc by ways of subsidies from the envisioned European Defence Fund.

Under the EU umbrella, officials hope to develop additional waveforms, “for example for specific use cases for air-based operations,” reads the Rohde und Schwarz statement.

The U.S. Joint Tactical Radio System’s software communication architecture serves as the blueprint for ESSOR, according to the program management agency.
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