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Harris provided MONCh with additional details regarding the two-channel handheld radio that it is proposing for the US Army. 

The new radio was unveiled by the company on 27 March at AUSA Global Force (stories here and here). The US Army has an existential requirement for a two-channel leader radio and is expected to move forward with a procurement to this end in May, with contracts for the new radios potentially worth up to U$4 billion, according to media reports.

Along with a design from Thales, Harris’ radio is expected to be procured as one of the solutions to satisfy the army’s requirement for a two-channel transceiver as part of its prevailing Rifleman Radio requirement. Both companies are already involved in the Rifleman Radio initiative, having been selected in April 2015 to produce Rifleman Radios under the terms of a Full Rate Production contract, with Thales providing the AN/PRC-154A and Harris the AN/PRC-159. Thales had earlier teamed with General Dynamics to produce 21,379 handheld radios under the terms of the Low Rate Initial Production contract for the Rifleman Radio.

The company told MONCh that the army’s requirement for a two-channel radio could now be satisfied via a new design based upon the company’s AN/PRC-163 handheld radio, which it is already supplying to the US Special Operations Command. It expects the new two-channel radio to be used at the squad/team leader level, and that radio testing and certification is being finalised by the company, with preliminary testing by the army now complete.

Specifications provided to MONS note that the radio will cover a very high frequency waveband of 30 megahertz/MHz to 174MHz, and 225-512MHz in Ultra High Frequency (UHF), with a number of UHF satellite communications (SATCOM) frequencies also available spanning a waveband of 300MHz up to 2.6 gigahertz in one channel, with UHF communications across a waveband of 225MHz up to 2.6GHz using the second channel.

Waveforms carried by the radio will include the legacy SINCGARS (Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System), HAVEQUICK-I/II and the APCO-25 public safety/first responders waveform. In terms of wideband waveforms the radios will have the US Armed Forces’ Soldier Radio Waveform intended to be used by dismounted troops, and Harris’ proprietary ANW2 waveform. Regarding SATCOM waveforms, the radio will carry the High Performance Waveform which can be used for communications across wideband and narrowband UHF satellites, alongside the US DOD’s MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) waveband for narrowband UHF communications across the MUOS satellite constellation.

Thomas Withington

 

A mock-up of the two-channel handheld radio which Harris is proposing for the US Army based upon the firm’s AN/PRC-163 design. (Photo: Harris)

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