Army Buys New Radios for Deploying Units

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.

About the Author

Matt Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at Military.com. He can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.
  • jonathan

    $82,000 per radio.

    • Splitpi

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

    • tmb2

      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.

    • looklook

      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.

      • tmb2

        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.

        • looklook

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

          • looklook

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

      • blight_

        Does your Tom-Tom handle SATCOM? Sit down.

    • T Bone
  • blight_

    “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

  • ltfunk4

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

    • William C.

      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

      • ltfunk4

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

        Keep on trying.

        • William C.

          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.

    • blight_

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

    • blight_

      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.

      • Musson

        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.

        • blight_

          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.

  • BlackOwl18E

    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-

    • FormerDirtDart

      They cover budget/procurement over at DoddBuzz

    • tee

      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

    • Mark

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

      • BlackOwl18E

        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

    • edree

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

    • David

      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.”

  • Lance

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

  • somfphite

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

    • 7113

      Most likely China.

  • tomatojuice

    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.

  • Johnny Ranger

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

  • Michael Zand

    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?

    • blight_

      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.

    • SJE

      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

      • Michael

        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

        • blight_

          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?

        • PMI

          lol @ linking a wiki page

          • blight_

            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

      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.

    • steve

      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…

      • Michael

        *Laughing and shaking my head at the same time*

      • blight_

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

      • Andres C.

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

    • Russ

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

  • ranchhand

    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.

  • Alex

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

  • ka5s

    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!

  • Вася

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