By Dean ~ August 8th, 2011. Filed under: Industry, SDR & SCA.
For the acronym aficionados out there: “Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS)”
The Defense Systems piece gives a pleasantly brief summary of the program:
“The AN/PRC-154 Rifleman Radio, which is being developed as part of the Defense Department Joint Tactical Radio System Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit program, is a lightweight, body-worn radio that can extend the tactical network to dismounted soldiers on the battlefield.”
The companion press page from General Dynamics C4 Systems is even more informative. It has some nice images (like the one included in this post) and even a video. In addition to the AN/PRC-154 radios, GD will also supply the US DOD with a batch of AN/PRC-155 Manpack radios:
“… the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) order, which has an initial value of approximately $56.4 million, calls for the production of 6,250 Rifleman and 100 Manpack radios and includes expenses for non-recurring startup costs, accessories, training, related equipment and supplies.
JTRS HMS Rifleman radios will enable soldiers on the battlefield to have secure, mobile voice, video and data communications capabilities that are similar to those available through commercial cellular networks.”
The announcement is particularly exciting for me as it represents, as stated in the GD material:
“… the first ground-domain radios that will be fielded by the U.S. military that meet the full suite of JTRS requirements.”
One has to believe that GD’s success in realizing this outstanding technology has a great deal to do with their rigorous engineering practices. Complex highly constrained platforms, like handheld and Manpack radios, require careful performance engineering in order to insure that systems-level requirements are fully met by today’s sophisticated ad-hoc networking waveforms. In our experience, it’s almost impossible to adapt the hardware platform to increase margin in computing power, memory, battery and power dissipation budgets in a cost effective fashion. Instead, we find that the waveform and operating environment must be optimized, almost “shoe-horned”, into the radio.
This success is an extremely strong validation both for the engineering discipline at GD and for Software Defined Radio. It is a clear confirmation that there will be an exciting future for the technology!