The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded L3Harris Technologies a prototype development contract for the FALCON Wideband Airborne HF radio, which will become part of a down-select competition to replace the AN/ARC-190 airborne HF unit, the company announced on 3 July.

The device in question is a software-defined, digital, multi-mode wideband radio with the capacity to augment space-based beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) systems, providing a much-needed alternative capability in a SATCOM-denied environment. The radio addresses the USAF HF Radio Modernization requirement and will enable airmen to communicate data at speeds up to ten times greater than the legacy ARC-190 radios.

The FALCON Wideband Airborne HF Radio features embedded encryption, electronic counter-counter measures (ECCM), low probability of intercept and detection (LPI/LPD) and is upgradable to accept new waveforms and software-delivered capabilities. The form factor combines three different pieces of equipment into a single package to reduce size, weight and power consumption, which is critical for airborne applications.

The capabilities provided by the L3Harris FALCON Wideband Airborne HF Radio will be a game-changer for the US Air Force, with L3Harris’ modernized software-defined technology that is designed to overmatch in contested and SATCOM-denied environments,” commented L3Harris Communication Systems’ Vice President and General Manager, DoD Tactical Communications, Ryan McCarty. “This prototype development selection expands our airborne product line and brings our leadership in tactical HF radios to the airborne segment.”

L3Harris was selected by the USAF in a competitive prototype effort and will now be part of a competitive down-select. The initial development phase will lead to low-rate initial production followed by a full production decision.

The new radio will eventually equip a wide range of US airborne platforms. (Photo: L3Harris)

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