Procurement: For Those Who Can't Wait For JTRS

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May 8, 2007: U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has just ordered over $400 million worth of AN/PRC-150 radios. They will be delivered over the next five years, and cost about $2,500 each. The ten pound (without batteries) radios are very flexible (are used in vehicles or backpacks), and are able to use several different types of transmission (including bouncing signals off the ionosphere, for longer range, or just to get a signal out of a built up area.) Digitial transmissions allow for data to get through under poor atmospheric conditions, or when in a built up area. The radios also have good encryption, and the ability to send and receive all forms of digital data. These radios are also used by the army. This buy indicates that SOCOM doesn't expect the long awaited JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System), which is designed so that all services can use it, to arrive any time soon. JTRS is having development problems, but the troops need digital (for computer stuff) and analog (traditional radio) communications in one box now, and it has to be programmable, in order to handle new applications. The AN/PRC-150 does most of that, and has been available for the last seven years. The marines are using it as well.

 


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