Army turns to BAE Systems for software-defined avionics radios for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft

April 29, 2024
These radios support joint service interoperable voice and data standards for line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight VHF and UHF radio communications.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – U.S. Army aviation experts needed airborne radios for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. They found their solution from the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Officials of the Army Contracting at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., announced a near-half-billion-dollar 10-year contract to BAE Systems in early April for AN/ARC-231A multi-mode aviation radio suite hardware components, repair services, as well as technical, engineering, and logistic support.

The value of the 9 April 2024 contract to BAE Systems is $459.8 million over the next decade.

The BAE Systems AN/ARC-231A avionics radio is part of the company's Fire series of aviation radios, which are software communications architecture (SCA) and software-defined radio (SDR) designs.

Related: Collins lands another hefty Navy order for thousands of AN/ARC-210(v) digital avionics communications radios

The ability to program these aviation radios can reduce the time it takes to field evolving communication needs, special mission modifications, and performance enhancements, BAE Systems officials say.

These software-defined radios support joint service interoperable voice and data standards for line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight VHF and UHF radio communications.

The AN/ARC-231A offers embedded NSA-certified Type 1 cryptography for voice and data security, and also provides communication capabilities of its predecessor with electronic counter-counter measures such as SATURN, HAVE QUICK, and SINCGARS.

The radios offer DAMA and IW UHF satellite communications (SATCOM) modes, and control interface options like independent red and black MIL-STD-1553, Ethernet, and USB for flexible integration and mission deployment.

Related: OpenVPX software-defined radio (SDR) kit with PCI Express and Ethernet introduced by X-ES

The avionics radios provide ED-23C (8.33 kHz) internationally compliant air traffic control communications and mandatory U.S. and NATO capabilities.

Future upgrades eventually could bring the BAE Systems AN/ARC-231A up to capabilities of the company's Starfire radios, which provide secure anti-jam, voice, and data communications in a compact radio set., which handle legacy frequency bands, AM/FM, voice, and data with air traffic control, maritime, and hailing modes, as well as 8.33 kHz, 5 kHz and 25 kHz channel spacing with frequency range extendable to 2 GHz.

On this contract BAE Systems will do the work at locations to be determined with each order, and should be finished by April 2034. For more information contact BAE Systems Electronic Systems online at, or the Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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