October 12, 2009:
The U.S. has developed a new ("G") version of its widely used AN/PRC-117 military radio. In use since the 1990s, the 17 pound (with the two lithium ion batteries) G version adds the ability to send and receive high speed data, enabling the user to share video in real time. The AN/PRC-117 has a 16 kilometers range with VHF, and is limited to line-of-sight for FM. The radio can also link to a satellite communications system. The radio uses encryption and frequency hopping, and can communicate with a wide range of other radios. It is waterproof, to at least a meter beneath the surface. The radio is programmable, enabling software upgrades, and making for a very flexible piece of equipment. On batteries, the AN/PRC-117 puts out 10 watts, but when mounted in a vehicle, using vehicle power, up to 50 watts can be generated.
The AN/PRC-117A first saw use in the 1980s, used by U.S. Army Special Forces. The current F version entered service six years ago.