Voice Of America
Armada International Compendium |October - November 2017

Strong demand continues to be witnessed in the North American tactical radios market led by the United States armed forces which are pursuing significant procurements to overhaul the communications used across its land forces.

In late August 2016, Datron was awarded a contract through the US Army to provide up to $495 million worth of communications equipment to the Afghan National Army (ANA) by 2021. Open sources note that, previously, the ANA had employed AN/PRC-77 radios, which can trace their lineage back to the late 1960s, plus a clutch of Russian systems including the R-130 and R-123 transceivers. The company also benefited from an earlier contract exercised through the US Army in May 2016 when it was tasked to provide $13.4 million worth of radios and spare parts to the ANA, with the contract to be completed this year. Chalking up additional successes in Afghanistan, Datron had earlier been awarded a contract worth $25.4 million in August 2009 to provide PRC-1077 VHF (Very High Frequency) man pack, HH-7700 VHF handheld and PRC-1099 HF (High Frequency) man pack radios. No information appears to have been published regarding the transceivers to be supplied to the ANA as a result of the two 2016 contracts.

I HARRIS

In late February, Harris unveiled its new RF300H-MP wideband man pack radio. This new product is part of the company’s FalconIII product line and is billed as: “the world’s smallest, lightest and fastest wideband man pack radio,” according to Harris’ official literature. This new product replaces Harris’ legacy AN/PRC-150C. Covering a waveband of 1.6 megahertz (MHz) to 59.9MHz, the AN/PRC-150C can handle data at rates of 9.6 kilobits-per-second (kbps) during HF transmissions. Harris’ new radio will transmit over a 1.6MHz to 60MHz waveband achieving data rates of up to 120kbps across wavebands of three kilohertz (KHz) to 24KHz in width. The RF300H-MP is a descendent, the company told Armada, of Harris’ RF-7800H-MP wideband HF radio, with the important caveat that the RF-300H-MP comes equipped with the US National Security Agency’s Type-1 encryption standard which uses approved NSA algorithms.

Earlier in the year, the firm disclosed to the author that the development of the RF-300H-MP, and its ability to handle comparatively large quantities of data for an HF radio reflected the contemporary trends experienced on the battlefield regarding the demand for wideband coverage. Historically, the channels available to HF users have been limited to a three kilohertz bandwidth, due to restrictions on sharing available HF bandwidth between military and civilian users. Nevertheless, September 2011 saw the US Department of Defence update its MIL-STD-188-110 military standard for HF communications so as to reflect the need for wideband HF communications, which enabled bandwidths of between three kilohertz and 24KHz. Harris added that the RF-400H-MP has been ordered by the US Department of Defence and will equip the US Army, navy, air force and Marine Corps, following the commencement of deliveries in March 2017.

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