Rugged radio designers for military applications focus on improving the networking, building tiny radios

By John McHale

Designers of rugged radios for military communications are focusing their efforts on improving the warfighter network, while at the same time creating radio communications technologies that are more efficient in terms of size, weight, and power.

“Today it is all about the network,” says Joe Miller, director of Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Ground Domain for General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Current operations demand better communications and warfighters need more bandwidth across secure seamless pipes. Networks must self form and auto route communications all without the benefit of fixed infrastructure -- no cell towers. Real-time communications and situational awareness are critical, and current operations in rugged remote regions of the world require new networking technologies.

“However, the network is just an enabler," Miller continues. “The value lies in applications that run on the network. Applications provide information and intelligence that improves safety, increases effectiveness, and multiplies lethality.”

The funding trends out of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) also are pushing toward a more efficient network, says Steve Marschilok, president of Department of Defense Business at Harris RF Communications in Rochester, N.Y. “The market and funding trends for military radios in the DOD are transitioning to wideband requirements as there is a pent-up demand for more and more data at the lowest echelons on the battlefield. Much like the commercial world, data intensive applications like biometrics, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), video, logistics are driving an increasing need for bandwidth.”

Falcon III AN/PRC-117G

Harris is meeting this demand with their Falcon III AN/PRC-117G, which is “the first wideband tactical radio that is both compliant with the JTRS Software Communications Architecture and NSA Type-1 certified,” Marschilok says. This radio has been deployed by the U.S. Army and other services to mission areas.

“The current challenge is to develop effective human interfaces at the soldier level to disseminate this intelligence without adding significant size and weight,” Miller says.

“From a product perspective, our military customers have placed emphasis on size, weight, power, and cost (SWAP-C) for new products,” says Earl Johnson, vice president of business development at ITT Communications Systems in Fort Wayne, Ind. “Radios of the future will be required to have an open systems architecture and run various waveforms as dictated by the operational environment. Tactical ground forces are seeking satellite communications on the move (SOTM) and beyond line of sight (BLOS) capabilities for company and below units.”

ITT’s Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) meets this demand and brings “the network to battalion and below units,” Johnson continues. “We are developing smaller handheld radio capabilities that will exceed requirements for the JTRS Rifleman Radio. Our NexGen Iridium products such as the RO Tactical Radio are providing BLOS capabilities to deployed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In addition, we have tested and demonstrated a SOTM with our GNOMAD system that brings on the move capability using a low profile SATCOM antenna, Johnson adds.

Smartphone on the battlefield

“The Army has also expressed strong interest in bringing smartphone capabilities to the battlefield based on the commercial model of smart phones using various applications,” Johnson says. “This is a low cost, open system solution leveraging commercial technology.”

However, as “new radios become cheaper and the military move to commercial type smart phones, the ruggedization required maybe relaxed in the future,” Johnson says.

“Military standards for ruggedization really have not changed, nor have techniques to achieve ruggedization,” Miller says. “That said, what is new is miniaturization. The Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) leverages technologies from the commercial cellular industry to achieve increased capabilities in packages significantly smaller than current radios.

“The smallest HMS radio, used on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sensors, weighs approximately 8 ounces, he continues.

“Ruggedization does become a challenge as density of electronics increases and size decreases,” Miller says. “Special techniques are required to manage thermal dissipation and unique power savings modes are necessary as well. Within the HMS radio, individual circuits can be shut down for fractions of a second all to conserve battery life and reduce thermal loading.”

Company listing

EFJohnson Technologies, Irving, Texas, 972-819-0700, www.efjohnsontechnologies.com

Ericsson, Plano, Texas, 972-583-0000, www.ericsson.com

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz., 480-441-3033, www.gdc4s.com

Harris RF Communications, Rochester, N.Y., 585-244-5830, www.rfcomm.harris.com

ITT Communications Systems, Fort Wayne, Ind., 260-451-6000, www.cs.itt.com

Motorola, Schaumburg, Ill., 847-576-1000, www.motorola.com

Thales Communications, Clarksburg, Md., 240-864-7000, www.thalescomminc.com


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XPedite7570 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7570 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XPedite7572 | 5th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module with SecureCOTS™

The XPedite7572 is a secure and high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the...

XCalibur4500 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U CompactPCI Module

The XCalibur4500 is a high-performance 6U CompactPCI single board computer that is ideal for rugg...

XCalibur4501 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U CompactPCI Module

The XCalibur4501 is a high-performance 6U CompactPCI single board computer that is ideal for rugg...

XCalibur4540 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur4540 is a high-performance, 6U OpenVPX™, multiprocessing, single board computer that ...

XPedite7501 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled XMC Module

The XPedite7501 is a high-performance, low-power, XMC module based on the 5th generation Intel® C...

XPedite7530 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U CompactPCI Module

The XPedite7530 is a high-performance 3U CompactPCI single board computer that is ideal for rugge...

Medusa VPX3424

The AcQ Inducom “Medusa”VPX3424 is a 3U OpenVPX™ Single Board Computer (SBC) featuring the T4240 ...

XChange3100 | 6U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with Optional Layer 2 Switching and Layer 3 Routing Management Support

The XChange3100 is a conduction- or air-cooled, 6U OpenVPX™ 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch module. Th...

XCalibur4401 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U CompactPCI Single Board Computer

The XCalibur4401 is a high-performance, 6U CompactPCI, multiprocessing, single board computer tha...

Related Companies

AcQ Inducom

Develops and produces non-certified and certified high-tech modular hardware- and software solutions for on-board and...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

Advanced Conversion Technology Inc

ACT designs and manufactures, since 1981, an extensive range of AC-DC and DC-DC power supplies (switching, linear, ra...

JuiceBox Energy Inc

JuiceBox Energy develops, engineers and manufactures advanced energy storage systems for residential, government and ...

Electronic Development Labs Inc (EDL)

Since 1943, EDL has strived to provide quality products, outstanding customer service, and superior technical support...

PTC

PTC (Nasdaq: PTC) delivers technology solutions that transform the way companies create, operate and service their pr...

Powell Electronics

An authorized electronic component distributor and experts of military connectors, switches, sensors and relays. Trac...

Eureka Dry Tech

High reliability electronic components utilized in aerospace and defense, requires strict moisture controlled storage...

Germane Systems

Germane Systems designs and manufactures COTS-based rugged high performance computers, servers, and storage systems f...

Sensoray Co Inc

Specializing in the development of custom OEM embedded electronics for industrial, aerospace, defense, medical and se...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...

Webcasts

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

Latest from the Paris Air Show

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

June 2015
Volume 26, Issue 6
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE