Coming on the heels of our post about the Nett Warrior system yesterday, it now seems the Army has finished some Soldier assessments of the new Joint Tactical Radio System enabled radio for ground pounders.

Developed in 2008 by General Dynamics C4 Systems, the “software-definabled Rifleman Radio operates on a network to adapt to mission needs,” said Maj. Jade Miller, assistant product manager for the JTRS Handheld, Manpack, SmallForm Fit program office in San Diego. It uses the Soldier Radio Waveform to fashion a “self-forming, self-healing network” without additional infrastructure, he said.

“It creates automatic range extension because it’s IP-based and can handle voice and data transmissions simultaneously,” he said. “It provides position location information for situational awareness. In urban environments, the network is able to aid connectivity through buildings to keep everyone with solid communications.”

“It’s the first type of networking radio that comes in such a small package for the force to utilize.”

Now I don’t know what half that gobbledygook means, but it sounds to me like the Soldier may be getting a portable radio with better range and data connectivity in a package not too dissimilar from what they’re already used to.

It’s funny, because this radio, the AN/PRC 154, can do a lot of what the Nett Warrior can do, but without the heads up display, batteries and wires.

According to GD:

The Rifleman Radio delivers networking connectivity to the frontline soldier in a low-cost, lightweight, ruggedized, body worn device. The radio transmits voice and data simultaneously utilizing the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW). The AN/PRC-154 is body worn, minimizing the warfighter’s combat load while increasing functionality. Designed to bring secure (Type 2) inter-squad communications to any warfighter on the tactical edge of the battlefield, this radio also enables Team and Squad Leaders to track individual soldier GPS locations. This radio connects every warfighter to the combat network, emphasizing safety and enabling enhanced situational awareness and better decisions at the very edge of the battlefield.

Of course, early evaluators had some problems early on. Soldiers were were bummed about battery life, reliability of the network (something JTRS has been plagued with) and the radio heating up to an uncomfortable level.

But it seems some of those problems have been ironed out and the radio may be on its way to deployment soon. Anyone out there got some gouge on this?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony February 10, 2011 at 7:53 am

The companies that are making this radio, the Nett Warrior system, and Blue Force tracker should really combine and work together on making the ultimate dismounted soldier system. They each have a lot to offer and I think they could really benefit from a partnership.

This new radio system is a very good idea, creating a network based off of all the surrounding network devices is the future of the internet and extending wireless capability. This self-healing network is the answer to communication problems for military members fighting in rough mountainous terrain.

If you notice all these new systems have the same battery life issue, DARPA really needs to get on this. Our technological advancement is now hampered by lack of battery technology research.

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Ian February 10, 2011 at 8:21 am

Looks the the Army found a way to pay $3,000 for a $300 Garmin RINO 530HCx.

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nraddin February 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

Always the case. When my friends in the 3rd went to Iraq for the 2nd time (2004?) they sent them with these crazy expensive irobot rigs that everyone raved over. I sent them little RC trucks from radioshak and some cheap hand held periscopes. They would take the RCs and ram them into things they where not sure about while watching them with the periscope from behind cover. Way faster than waiting for EOD and effective, Some of the RC trucks didn't make it back but it cost me all of $35 a car.

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kjm February 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Needs more stopping power.

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nraddin February 11, 2011 at 7:07 am

What is the User Interface for this system? When it says it will track there and there units GPS how does it display that?

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Buzz February 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm

This is a lead up to the JTRS system which will act as a retrans station in whatever mode is needed – TACSAT, SINCGARS, HF, LOS etc

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Buzz February 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

The radio is a brick. The display will ultimatly be the Blue Force Tracking display in a vehicle.

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