Home » Wars » Afghan Update » Army Buys New Radios for Deploying Units

Army Buys New Radios for Deploying Units

by Matt Cox on December 4, 2012

The U.S. Army recently awarded General Dynamics C4 Systems and Rockwell Collins with a $306 million contract for 3,726 Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) AN/PRC-155 Manpack radios.  The two-channel PRC-155 radios, along with vehicle integration kits and related accessories, are part of the Army’s Capability Set 13 networking and communications gear deploying with brigade combat teams next year.

“With the game-changing PRC-155 networking radio, soldiers can be confident they will have access to lifesaving voice and data communications,” said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems, in a recent GD press release.  “The AN/PRC-155 Manpack is the most rigorously tested radio in the Army’s arsenal.  This order, along with the 19,000 AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radios already under contract, moves the Army one step closer to achieving its brigade modernization strategy.”

The two-channel PRC-155, part of the Joint Tactical Radio System, completes the Army’s tactical network by connecting upper to lower tiers, legacy to future waveforms and terrestrial to over-the-horizon links, said Chris Brady, vice president of Assured Communications for General Dynamics C4 Systems.

PRC-155s weigh 14 pounds with battery and can be mounted in a vehicle or carried in a pack.

It has also been certified by the National Security Agency to communicate classified voice and data at the Top Secret level and below.  The certification makes the radio the only secure, two-channel networking radio to communicate data across the entire force structure between battalion headquarters and soldiers on foot and in vehicles.

 General Dynamics began production of these radios in anticipation of this new production order and started deliveries to the Army in November.

The Army first purchased 100 AN/PRC-155 Manpack radios from General Dynamics in July 2011.  The two-channel Manpack radio provides line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight, high-bandwidth waveforms for on-the-move voice, sensor, data and position-location capabilities on soldiers or in vehicles.  The Manpack radio is the first tactical radio capable of supporting all three of the Army’s non-proprietary networking waveforms and is engineered to easily port additional waveforms as they become available.

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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

jonathan December 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

$82,000 per radio.

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Splitpi December 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

It is an LRIP production run. I would expect cost to decrease during full rate production

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tmb2 December 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm

If this is going to be THE tactical radio we're going to stick with for the next decade, we're going to buy 100,000 of them.

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looklook December 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

my tom tom and gramin works great with less glitches and cost $400.00 and free updates with better maps and weighs less the 3 lbs way to update the military.

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tmb2 December 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Your Tom Tom and Garmin can't be encrypted, can be jammed with Radio Shack equipment, and this article is talking about brand new radios capable of communicating over 6 different wave forms, not GPS devices. The military's GPS have anti-jam features, are encrypted, and only weigh 1 pound. Price is just over $1000.

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looklook December 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

with radio shack and the internet you can jam anything. it is an fm freq.

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looklook December 6, 2012 at 9:50 am

PRC-155s weigh 14 pounds with battery and can be mounted in a vehicle or carried in a pack

blight_ December 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Does your Tom-Tom handle SATCOM? Sit down.

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looklook December 6, 2012 at 9:47 am

Not yet that is a software issue do you really think a 8 lb box is more user friendly then a 2oz hand held.

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blight_ December 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

You also missed the boat entirely. These are radios meant to communicate over hundreds of miles on infrastructure that doesn't exist. Do you think we could've rolled over the border into Iraq using Iraqi cell towers?

Besides, the military does occasionally make use of civilian technology, especially when it's cheaper and easier to get than stuff still going through military procurement. But something like radios aren't something you can cobble together at Radio Shack.

Besides, have you even been to Radio Shack recently? It's all smartphones and toys now. RIP Radio Shack.

T Bone December 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm
blight_ December 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm

"completes the Army’s tactical network by connecting upper to lower tiers, legacy to future waveforms and terrestrial to over-the-horizon links"

Upper Tier to Lower Tier: "Corporal, this is the White House…"

Legacy-to-Future: "After using the time machine, we know the future direction of communications systems and standards…"

Terrestrial to Over-the-Horizon: "This is radio, microwave and satellite ready"

Sigh, buzzwords.

Edit:

Waveforms:SRW, SINCGARS, SATCOM, MUOS, WNW
Planned: HF, IW, VHF/UHF LOS, AM/FM,
APCO-25

http://www.gdc4s.com/Documents/Products/Radios/Ne

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ronal5 December 5, 2012 at 9:25 am

How long does the battery last?

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 11:49 am

5 pound battery and dual battery for hotswap without shut-down…not sure.

Site gives "max power usage" as 20W.

A nice laptop battery gives 81,000 mWh or 81 W*h, and would give a theoretical life of 4 hours. Considering a laptop battery is not five pounds…if anything, they're less than a pound. Maybe between 12-20 hours, depending on a number of factors?

I'm sure there are people who know the correct numbers; but I wonder if that kind of thing should be discussed in the clear.

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ltfunk4 December 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Of course the taliban are winning the war using cheap commercial motorola handhelds.

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William C. December 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

If by winning the war you mean dying en-masse but causing enough damage to ensure that Afghanistan will remain in the stone age for the foreseeable future, then yes. A great victory for the Afghan people… /sarcasm

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ltfunk4 December 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm

As a lieflong failure you dont even know what winning is – hint: it's not hiding failure.

Keep on trying.

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William C. December 5, 2012 at 2:26 am

You talking about the concept of success is rather amusing. How successful were you with Oblat and ltfunk1-3 again? We ought to place bets on how long until ltfunk5 emerges.

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blight_ December 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Yes, just like AQ used to use Thurayas until they realized they were being tracked by 'em.

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

You're making the mistake that Americans do by equating victory with tech.

Victory is keeping pro-Taliban people in the villages from going out at night to terrorize their neighbors. I could've said "victory is keeping the Pakistani Taliban from crossing the border at night", but there is more than one population of Pashtun who doesn't like us in Afghanistan, let alone the Salafis who want to bring the fight to us in any corner of the world with a single Muslim in it.

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Musson December 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

Victory is keeping the Afghans from providing facilities for terrorists to use to export Terrorism to the West. With 250+ afghan tribes – no one is going to keep them from fighting each other.

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 9:54 am

And at the same time, any tribe that is pro-terrorism will provide the sanctuary any terrorist group needs.

I wonder if it's game over.

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BlackOwl18E December 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Forget radios! Why hasn't Defensetech covered what's going on with the F-35 vs F/A-18E/F debate between the Pentagon and the Senate?

From the outside looking in it looks like there is a new MYP IV contract for F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in the defense bill that the Senate is passing. Either it's a contract for a lot more Super Hornets or it's funding for the Super Hornet upgrades Boeing is offering or a combination of both. Whatever it is the Pentagon has said they want it removed from the budget. It appears that someone wants to kill off the F-35's competition. The day after that the Navy modified an existing contract to purchase an additional 15 F/A-18E Super Hornets. The Navy's message to the Pentagon was pretty clear: "Even if you kill the new Super Hornet orders on the defense bill nothing is stopping us from modifying existing contracts to get them."

On the flip side, Obama wants $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over a decade and has offered $600 billion dollars in spending cuts. The Senate representatives said that wasn't enough and, here's the important part, they also wouldn't mention publicly what programs they would cut. I'm wondering if the F-35 program or certain variants of the F-35 are on their list since it would make the cuts amount to about $1 trillion on top of Obama's offer.

I get the feeling that there's going to be some serious fighting going on between the White House and the Senate over the F/A-18E/F and the F-35C. When the bloodshed is over there's a good chance only one of these fighters is going to be on the defense bill when it gets passed. As always, my money is on the Super Hornet.
http://www.airforcetimes.com/prime/2012/12/PRIME-

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FormerDirtDart December 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm

They cover budget/procurement over at DoddBuzz

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BlackOwl18E December 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm

DoDBuzz, isn't covering it well either.

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William_C1 December 7, 2012 at 2:52 am

Speaking of DoDBuzz, do you know why that site is eating ALL of my comments? Itfunk's spam makes it through the system, and everything I post here usually shows up.

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BlackOwl18E December 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Not a clue. Although I do know how you feel as this site once did that to my comments too.

tee December 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I told you that last week if you remember. here is the link to down load the report by CSBA. , go to link & click on Download for PDF
' http://www.csbaonline.org/publications/2012/11/st

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Mark December 7, 2012 at 10:14 am

Looks like Canada is going to ax the F-35. Care to comment?

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BlackOwl18E December 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

No, they denied the plans to cancel it for it now. Canada still officially has plans to purchase the F-35.

I am, however, excited to see that people are talking about eliminating the F-35C permanently and just buying 240 Super Hornets to compensate:

"Eliminate the Navy’s buy of the over-budget F-35C jet and instead purchase the effective and affordable F/A-18E/F jet to save $16.62 billion over 10 years"

Here's a link: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/military/r

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edree December 8, 2012 at 8:20 am

To forget radios is to forget the LIVES of soldiers on the ground – YOU IDIOT!

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David December 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

because you poor little Super Hornet is leaving production in 2016, and the F-35 will supplement it no matter how hard you try. Also, most of the sources you use are complete bullsh*t. Any number of think tanks have said similar things over the years, including that "Tanks are completely useless and should be replaced by wheeled systems ASAP."

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Lance December 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Yawn……. the Army said they where going to do this for a few years.

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somfphite December 4, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Where are these radios being produced and can I get a job there?

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7113 December 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Most likely China.

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tomatojuice December 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm

As a retired commo guy, it seems like they dumb down the face plate to make it easier for some people to use. The AN/PRC-150 seemed like one of the harder radios for most soldiers to operate because of the menu most likely. I would like to actually see one and see what it can do.

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Johnny Ranger December 5, 2012 at 12:50 am

14 pounds. WITH battery. Man, where were these back when I was jumping Prick77s and Sincgars…. :-(

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Michael Zand December 5, 2012 at 4:42 am

I am tired of all the censorship for no apparent reason on this website.

Everyones opinion that doesnt fit in the view of military.com get deleted. Hasn’t got anything to do with cursing or anything like that anymore.

I have over the years specially noticed comments that are from “non americans” getting deleted.

This website definiteeky doesnt respect freedom of speech of any other opinion besides one that fits the right wing side of US pilitics.

You either respect free speech or not. How do you want it?

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 8:56 am

ltfunk4 is still here, and I doubt his views fit the military.com mold.

Some people think censorship validates their views, but many of military's greatests were the skeptics, the marginalized, the mavericks of their day before becoming mainstream.

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SJE December 5, 2012 at 11:35 am

Where is the censorship? There are lots of dissenting voices and unorthodox opinions. Sure, people's opinions might get slammed, and voted down, but that's not censorship

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Michael December 5, 2012 at 11:44 am

Please read the post you are replying to first.
"Everyone's opinion that doesn't fit in the view of military.com get deleted."

Deleting messages because of the reasons stated in my previous post is censorship.

You can get a deeper knowledge what censorship is by reading more here, thanks! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm

There's a post timer control system that gives the message that the administrator has deleted the post, but actual admins deleting posts is fairly rare.

I've noticed that as an IntenseDebate user that I've been getting a lot less deleted posts: that may be an option for you?

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PMI December 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

lol @ linking a wiki page

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Even the ACLU has a nice definition of censorship.
http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/censorship

"Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Once you allow the government to censor someone else, you cede to it the power to censor you, or something you like. Censorship is like poison gas: a powerful weapon that can harm you when the wind shifts. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional because freedom of speech is protected in the First Amendment, and is guaranteed to all Americans."

I think the poison gas comparison is a little exaggerated, but I suppose apt.

tmb2 December 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Michael, if your post said "admin deleted" immediately after you hit reply, then it wasn't an actual person deleting your post. Think about it. The software that runs military.com's comments sections sometimes does an auto-delete based on keywords, but none of us know what those words are. They tend to be certain hyperlinks or OPSEC related terms. Tinker with your post using cut and paste and see what sticks.

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Michael December 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm

OK!? I am not sure if you are mixing my comments with others here?

I have only made 2 posts and the same post in both. The below:
"Everyone's opinion that doesn't fit in the view of military.com get deleted."

1. Where do you see admin deleted and where do I say someone deleted ?
I am really not sure where you get those quotes from?! But it doesnt matter…

2. I thank you all for the comments. Not sure how fast it was deleted(human). I simply asked why they didnt report on an incident which I thought was important and interesting. A subject that has been discussed here before.

The nature of the subject and my experience in the intelligence sector makes me believe this website is not so neutral and that it was deleted by a "human".
Since US is trying it's hardest to bury the story and disregards it as nonsense.

But lets be honest here. There is no neutral in the military. BUT if military.com wants to be an international websites who attracts an international audience it better start accepting other peoples opinions.

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tmb2 December 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Nope, my comment was intended for you. A couple times a month someone new posts to DT or DodBuzz and complains when their posts are automatically deleted due to the comments software that I described and some of us who have been around a while educate them on how the comments section operates. If your post was deleted hours after you posted that's another matter entirely. Once in a while an entire chain of comments and responses will disappear and it can be corrected by sending an email to the military.com admins. We occasionally get inflammatory comments from trolls, but those will get deleted by a human admin if they blatantly violate OPSEC, are racist in nature, or collectively we negative vote the hell out of them.

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Michael December 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm

OK! Thanks! But my post was there for at least an hour. I have a print screen of it because I suspected it being deleted.

Let me tell you what I asked. It wasnt actually a comment but rather a request to make a news post about the captured drone. And I also asked why it has not been done already.

In Sweden at least the common understanding is that US is trying to bury the story. So when my request for that story gets deleted, well you can guess what my thought were about it

tmb2 December 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I will agree that DT and DoDBuzz can be quite subjective and sometimes amatuer in how they report, but I will disagree that an opinion in contrast with military.com will get deleted every time. We have some fairly regular knuckleheads who post here with anti-american, anti-military, or general against the collective comments but still survive the admins.

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Michael December 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Yeah, I know. I dont comment a lot but have been "here" for years =)

As a politician I cant comment on some matters.

steve December 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm

All military Blogs do NOT need any NON-AMERICANS making any comments bonehead! Who in the hel wants to listen to theior crap anyway….This is for Americans not foreigners…..Geez get a hold of yourself!!!!!!!! It is OUR Freedom of Speech we are concerned with…

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Michael December 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

*Laughing and shaking my head at the same time*

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blight_ December 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Next we'll need a DD-214 to post here.

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Andres C. December 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Steve please grab a dictionary and a proper education on your own language before making an a** of yourself.

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Russ December 7, 2012 at 9:01 am

This is for the US – we simply do not need ideas from socialist/communist sources.

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ranchhand December 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Well, we all suspected this was coming, but they should have gone with the PRC 117G. This is kind of a step backwards for integration with SOF.

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm

http://rf.harris.com/media/AN-PRC-117G_tcm26-9017
http://www.gdc4s.com/Documents/Products/Radios/Ne

The 117G is 30 Mhz -> 2,000 Mhz, the -155 is 2 Mhz -> 2,500 Mhz.

I'm sure a communications guy will hopefully drop in to shed light on the comparison between both systems. That said, the PRC-117G will be procured by DHS…

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Alex December 7, 2012 at 1:25 am

Let's just hope that they don't lose one of this that is unlocked in the middle of an operation.

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ka5s December 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I enlisted in early 1962 and was not much later operating point to point multichannel systems and the ocassional "3 through 8" FM and GRC-26. VRC-12's were not even fielded. When I retired in 1983, our Signal Bde used a PDP-11 that occupied two semi's to run the terrain data base and voice and data digital comms were programmed with punched tape.

THIS was once Science Fiction — and the SF writers didn't have enough imagination.

In the past few years, I've done engineering on newer equipment, mainly for aircraft systems. The avionics I repaired in 1965 was tuned with a speedometer cable. What a ride.

Top Secret over the air. Amazing.

Authenticate Whiskey Tango, Over.

I authenticate FOXTROT!

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but us have R-105 radio stations!!! but your not well

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Indeed, indeed.

The drone in question was a scaneagle, which was a pretty tiny drone as far as drones go. It makes me suspicious that someone is in Iran or operating close to Iran that popped a ScanEagle…but it's rather dangerous and high risk to lose yet another drone to the Iranians.

At least they're small and expendable. Maybe they should have used that mysterious UAV shot down over Pakistan camouflaged to look like a bird from below?

Real quick:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ScanEagleIraq.j
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/iran-proof-

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Michael December 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I never thought of it that way. Maybe it was operated from inside Iran and they are just trying to save the operator and then confirm it.

I think again that everyone agrees on that it IS a US drone.

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blight_ December 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm

They were civilian drones that spiraled into military use. Now the new theory is that they may have been used by civilian groups; which might explain why they look similar, but not quite the same as military pictures of ScanEagle.
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/05/157

But yeah, it's way too small for what Iran thinks they were used for. Either used by civilians who need short-range-high-loiter, or someone snuck in close to Iran and launched one for short-range ops, then scrubbed it down to look like a civilian unit.

It would require some serial number checks to know for sure and an examination of the drone's hardware…which the Iranians will never do.

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looklook December 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm

The radio can not transmit without retrans sites. and yes we did roll over the Berm in to IRAQ with cell phones and Garmins they were updated with Iraq maps not over lays (BFT) we used hand helds to get the job done. So yes i think i do know what works in IRAQ.

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tmb2 December 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm

FM won't transmit beyond the horizon without retrans. The UHF, SATCOM, and HF functions on the radio don't need it. These radios also have the option of connecting to the JNN network.

We had satellite phones with encryption sleds on them during the invasion. If you used an actual cell phone on the Iraqi network during the invasion then you were a fool and put yourselves in danger.

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mancow December 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm
mancow December 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm
looklook December 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

FM HF UHF are all line of sight SATCOM is more a stationare unit for updating the JNN is a joke if you walk in side a building you crypto is gone and dont go under an over pass. all this equipment that they are putting in to a HMMWV takes up a 3X3 area and still does nothing better then a Garmin Rhino. you can put any spin you want on how secure the 155 is but it is still not user friendly it still takes up to much space and it is to heavy and for a soft ware flaw is the only down side of the Rhino.

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William_C1 December 8, 2012 at 5:08 am

Yeah, I thought it was just the automatic system being picky at first, but it's definitely something else. Did you have to contact somebody to fix your problem?

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