For rugged radios, it's all about bigger networks and smaller sizes

By JOHN McHALE

Designers of rugged radios for the military focus on improving the network for the warfighter, while at the same time creating 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, and logistics are driving an increasing need for bandwidth."

Harris is meeting this demand with its 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.

The Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-117G rugged, wideband tactical radio is compliant with the JTRS Software Communications Architecture, as well as National Security Agency (NSA) Type-1 certified.

"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."

"The Army has also expressed strong interest in bringing Smart Phone 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. As new radios become cheaper and the military move to commercial-type smart phones, the ruggedization required may be relaxed in the future."

"Military standards for ruggedization really have not changed, nor have techniques to achieve ruggedization," Miller says. "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, weighs approximately 8 ounces."

"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 to conserve battery life and reduce thermal loading."

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

SBC-K7 Embedded PC for Instrumentation and Control

The SBC-K7 is an ideal platform for embedded instrumentation that combines an Atom PC running Win...

Rugged Mobile Communications Server

Advanced communications server designed to be deployed in environments where it needs to meet cer...

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

Sensors Unlimited GA1280JSX High Resolution, Mil-Rugged, Extended High Sensitivity InGaAs SWIR Camera

Manufactures a high resolution, mil-rugged, extended high-sensitivity 0.9 Mpixel InGaAs SWIR came...

M1U20xx 1U Military-Grade Computer System

The M1U20xx Military-Grade Rack Mount System is a reliable high-performance mil-spec 1U solution ...

TFX-19 Trifold Rackmount LCD

The TFX1-19 is a rugged military grade high performance 2U rackmount LCD panel display offering t...

P317xx Portable Computer System w/ Three 17" LCDs

The P317xx portable " lunchbox" system is unique in offering three 17" 1280x1024 resolution LCD d...

CCXR-17 Slideways Side Access Rackmount LCD Keyboard

The CCXR-17 is a unique Side Access space-efficient military-grade high-performance 1U rackmount ...

M4U20xx 4U Rackmount Military-Grade Computer

A 4U rugged military-grade computer offering the latest long-availability high-performance mother...

Large Fiber Collimators

Diffraction Limited Large Fiber Collimators are designed for long distance beam propagation with ...

Related Companies

Innovative Integration

  Since 1988, Innovative Integration has grown to become one of the world's leading suppliers of DSP and data ac...

Elma Electronic Inc

Who we are...   About Elma Electronic Systems   The Systems division of Elma Electronic Inc. supplies the

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

American Infrared Solutions (AIRS)

American Infrared Solutions

GE Intelligent Platforms

GE Intelligent Platforms is a leading global provider of embedded computing systems and modules for a wide range of a...

Raycom Electronics

Raycom Electronics, Inc., a subsidiary of Electro Technik Industries (ETI), was incorporated in 1965.  The compa...

Trenton Systems Inc

Designs and manufactures rugged rackmount computers and MIL-STD-810 systems using both standard COTS as well as custo...

Sensors Unlimited - UTC Aerospace Systems

Manufactures near-IR (NIR) and shortwave IR (SWIR) cameras (available fully packaged or as OEM imaging modules), line...
Wire News provided by   

social activity

Webcasts

Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Digital signal processing for signals intelligence and electronic warfare

Military & Aerospace Electronics presents an expert Webcast on the design considerations for blending general-purposes processors (GPUs), general-purpose graphics processors (GPGPUs), field-programmable ...
Sponsored by:

Advantages of Intel Architecture Products and Wind River Solutions in Military & Aerospace Applications

This webinar explains the individual advantages of the Intel Architecture hardware, available for long-life supply, and the WRS software portfolio.  There are extraordinary advantages of combining such ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

View the 2014 Buyer's Guide Now!


Mil & Aero Magazine

October 2014
Volume 25, Issue 10
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

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