Wednesday, August 12, 2015

U.S. Navy orders first batch of radical new digital radios

Valerie Insinna, Defense Daily
10 August 215

General Dynamics [GD] landed a $29 million order for AN/USC-61 Digital Modular Radios equipped with a new waveform that will expand the Navy's ability to communicate all over the globe.
While the Navy has been using DMR on its submarines and surface ships since 1998, the 54 units purchased by the service on Monday will be the first able to use the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) waveform. MUOS-a narrowband tactical satellite communications system that will allow troops to transmit and receive voice, video and data-could become operational by the end of the year (Defense Daily, June 30).
"DMR is an extremely versatile radio and we continue to update its capabilities to ensure that Navy communications networks have the most advanced and secure technologies," Mike DiBiase, vice president and general manager of C4ISR Technologies for General Dynamics Mission Systems, said in a news release. "MUOS is an excellent example of an advanced capability that will provide smartphone-like connectivity among military personnel working in some of the toughest, most remote environments."
The radios are slated to go onboard Navy destroyers and submarines currently under construction, the news release stated.
Although the Navy leads the MUOS program, other services also expect to leverage the satellite constellation. Earlier this year, General Dynamics used a MUOS satellite communications and ground station simulator to make voice calls and send data between a DMR and an Army AN/PRC-155 two-channel Manpack radio (Defense Daily, March 23).
The DMR was the first software-defined radio operated by the U.S. military, and more than 550 have been delivered by General Dynamics. Upgrades can be made primarily by changing the radio's software, limiting the number of hardware modifications it needs to connect to new communications systems.
The order exercises an option on a contract previously awarded to the company in 2010.

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