November 11, 2011

Harris introduces the new Falcon III handeld radio upgrade for network-enabled dismounted soldiers

News Report

As announced in a recent press release, Harris has introduced the Falcon III® AN/PRC-152A, the first and only U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) Type-1 certified handheld radio to put the power of wideband tactical networking-including the capability to send and receive voice, video, images and data-in the hands of the dismounted warfighter. The introduction of the AN/PRC-152A will transform tactical communications through the expanded use of network-enabled missions in areas such as mission planning, intelligence gathering, force protection and checkpoint security.

Harris began deliveries of the AN/PRC-152A after receiving Type-1 certification from the NSA. The radio is the next generation of the widely deployed AN/PRC-152(C) handheld and addresses wideband communication requirements of teams operating at the tactical edge of the battlefield. The Falcon III wideband handheld serves as an interoperable companion to the Harris AN/PRC-117G multiband wideband manpack radio.

The Product

The AN/PRC-152A is the wideband handheld radio that delivers IP-based mobile ad-hoc networking while maintaining interoperability with legacy narrowband waveforms. Using the AN/PRC-152A, dismounted operators have the ability to send and receive secure voice and data communications to users within the network. The AN/PRC-152A provides high-speed networked data using the Harris Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) and will be software upgradeable to support the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW).

ANW2 uses innovative intelligent protocols that do not require the presence of a designated network control station-each radio automatically discovers and joins an authorized network. Ad-hoc networking allows automatic and transparent relay through an available station. It also heals the network if a station leaves, ensuring network reliability. ANW2 provides situational awareness and data on demand, seamlessly linking dismounted soldiers with upper-echelon networks. The radio quickly and efficiently transmits mission-critical voice, data and video in the most challenging communications environments.
The AN/PRC-152A allows the U.S. Department of Defense to extend tactical networking across the entire battlefield and offers warfighters the broadest set of capabilities in a handheld radio. In addition to wideband networking provided by the Harris ANW2, the AN/PRC-152A operates SINCGARS, VHF/UHF Line-of-Sight (VULOS), HaveQuick, IW for tactical satellite communications and other combat net radio waveforms.

Covering the 30 to 512 MHz frequency range, the multiband radio also comes with an optional high band enhancement that increases the radios frequency coverage to 30-512 MHz and 762-870 MHz for select waveforms. Additionally, the radio supports wideband (e.g. 1.2 MHz Bandwidth) networking waveforms from 225 to 450 MHz.

The AN/PRC-152A features the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) operating environment, providing the optimal transition to software defined radio technology. SCA architecture enables the upgrade to future waveforms supporting the evolution of communications from legacy narrowband to network centric wideband operations. Secured with the Harris SierraTM II encryption module, the AN/PRC-152A provides voice and data security up to the TOP SECRET level.

The Context

Consistent with its investments under the JTRS Enterprise Business Model, Harris is in the process of adding the JTRS Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) to the AN/PRC-152A.

There are currently four different types of SRW-capable JTRS radios: HMS Production Rifleman Radio (PRR) developed under government contract by the JTRS program, as well as three commercial vendors’ radios, Harris’ Falcon III, ITT’s Soldier Radio, and Northrup Grumman’s Software Defined Multi-Function Device.


"The introduction of the AN/PRC-152A revolutionizes the effectiveness of the dismounted combat soldier," said Dana Mehnert, group president, Harris RF Communications. "This new radio extends the tactical network to the edge, allowing for reliable connectivity across all levels and delivering vital command and control, situational awareness and critical ISR information. With the introduction of the AN/PRC-152A, the Harris Falcon III family of vehicular, manpack and handheld radios now addresses networking requirements from brigade and battalion levels down to the squad."

References: Harris (1), NPS (2), Armed with Science (3)

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