The US Marine Corps (USMC) awarded Harris Corporation a U$75 million order to provide MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) narrowband satellite communication (SATCOM) upgrades to the service’s FALCON III AN/PRC-117G manpack radio fleet. The order is part of the US Navy Portable Radio Program five-year IDIQ contract received in 2017.
MUOS is a narrowband SATCOM system that uses commercial cell phone technology to increase access to voice and data communication while on the battlefield. The USMC has already fielded thousands of MUOS-capable AN/PRC-117G radios over the last six years and will update the firmware within the radios to support the MUOS waveform. Three new antenna kits will be added to support multiple operational configurations, to include: a traditional directional antenna for better data performance at-the-halt; a dismounted on-the-move antenna which enables voice and data access when mobile; and a vehicular kit that modifies the AN/VRC-114 to accept MUOS.
Harris has continued to invest in the development and deployment of MUOS and other advanced waveforms to add capability to the widely deployed AN/PRC-117G family of radios, as well as its next generation of tactical radios. As a software defined radio, the AN/PRC-117G was developed to be easily upgradable with new waveforms such as MUOS, enabling customers to increase capabilities economically. The AN/PRC-117G radio is a single channel voice and data radio that is capable of operating in a frequency range of 30 Megahertz to two Gigahertz.
The Harris AN/PRC-117G delivers breakthrough wideband data speed and legacy narrowband performance in a form factor, "30% smaller and 35% lighter than any other currently in field," the company states. "The manpack is also the industry’s first and only tactical radio with NINE Suite B encryption. This frees sovereign nations to securely interoperate with US, NATO and regional tactical partners and eliminates the time and cost of maintaining two separate radio systems."
“This well-earned order for Harris to upgrade the USMC's radios will boost the Rochester-Finger Lakes economy, in addition to ensuring that our Marines have the most modern and effective radios possible. Harris has proven countless times over that it produces superior technology for the U.S. military, and this order further confirms it,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “I was proud to secure funding for these MUOS upgrades in the 2019 Defense Appropriations bill to give Harris a chance to compete for this order, and will always fight for investments that both protect our troops and provide a shot in the arm to the Rochester-Finger Lakes economy.”
“Adding this capability to the 117G will enable the Marines to leverage the proven radios they have already deployed, fought and trained with to access the advanced capabilities and capacity of the MUOS satellites with a simple software upgrade,” continued Dana Mehnert, President, Harris Communication Systems. “The MUOS upgrade also will enable interoperability with other U.S. DOD and allied users who deploy this advanced capability in the future.”
In addition to the MUOS upgrades, Harris will deliver ancillary devices for the AN/PRC-117G radios currently fielded by the USMC. These include antennas, which enable the Harris radios to support SATCOM-on-the-move while connected to the MUOS satellites.