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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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