Raytheon’s jam-resistant, battlefield radio recently transmitted data securely over the air to more than 30 Stryker combat vehicles, proving that it could meet the U.S. Army’s need for a tactical wireless Internet via a vehicle-mounted mobile radio system.
The EXF1915, an upgraded version of Enhanced Position Location Reporting System radios, completed several months of continual, sustained secure data transmissions for the combat vehicles of the 4th Brigade 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team, or 4/2 SBCT. Soldiers were able to send and receive e-mail and chat messages and access the brigade’s intranet-like Web portal, marking the first time 4/2 SBCT was able to tap into a secure wireless network.
EPLRS joined combat operations in Afghanistan following tests at Fort Irwin, Calif.
“The EPLRS Enhanced Services extended secure voice, data, and e-mail services to the Stryker vehicles of platoon through brigade-level leaders during combat operations forward of tactical bases,” said Col. Michael Getchell, commander of 4/2 SBCT. “Prior to the installation of the EPLRS ES network, this level of upper TI (Tactical Internet) communications were limited to fixed tactical operations centers using the pre-existing infrastructure on FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) and COPs (Combat Outposts) in the Panjwa’I District of Kandahar, Afghanistan.”
Over 28,000 EPLRS radios have been purchased to provide “on the move” networking capabilities. These radios, already deployed in significant numbers aboard U.S. Army vehicles, can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost of a new radio system to support the lower-tier network requirements.
When connected to the Army’s middle- and upper-tier networks, the EXF1915, also known as the RT-1915, provides high-speed IP network services for an entire brigade of Stryker and other combat vehicles. These capabilities provide more choices and greater purchasing flexibility as the service seeks a lower-tier networking radio system.
“EPLRS has served the Army well over the years, and now it can be converted to the new EXF1915 to help the service quickly and inexpensively network a fleet of combat vehicles,” said Scott Whatmough, vice president of Integrated Communication Systems for Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business. “We’ve continually improved our radio technology and matured it to the point where we can offer a lower cost alternative for the thousands of already-equipped Army vehicles.”
Building upon the EXF1915 serving the lower tier, the MR-150, using the higher-bandwidth Next Generation Mobile Ad Hoc Network Waveform (NMW), could provide the Army with additional flexibility for its mid-tier networking requirements. The NMW network has undergone stringent testing at two Network Integration Evaluation exercises, has been deployed in theater, and has proven to be the highest-performing mid-tier technology.
The combination of the EXF-1915 and the MR-150 fills the data networking void with a low-cost, ready today, proven solution.