January 19, 2012

Contract Award: Harris to support Brazilian Army's modernization programs

News Report

As announced in a recent press release, Harris has received orders totaling $10.7 million from the Federative Republic of Brazil for Falcon III VHF Combat Net Radios and Falcon III Secure Personal Radios (SPR) to support a wide range of mission requirements.

Brazil is acquiring the Harris RF-7800V vehicular radio system and RF-7800S SPR to provide its armed forces with advanced voice and high-speed data communication capabilities. The RF-7800V system, for use in tanks, transport and other vehicles, delivers range, data speeds and throughput that are unmatched by any other combat net radio on the market. The RF-7800S is a wideband networking radio designed for the emerging demands for voice, data and situational awareness at the soldier level.

Harris received the orders from Brazil's Center for Communications and Electronic Warfare (CCOMGEX).

Even if not explicitly reported by other news sources, this acquisition is expected to be part of the two key modernization programs that are ongoing within the Brazilian Army, i.e. the SISFRON (Sistema Integrado de Monitoramento de Fronteiras), and the Projeto Brigada Braço Forte. Both the two programs are managed by the CCOMGEX, with the support of two Brazilian entities (i.e. Atech and CESAR, the Centro de Estudos e Sistemas Avançados do Recife) that have been conctracted by the Center with the objective of producing system requirements and identifying the best solutions that are available in the defence market for satisfying Brazilian Army's new operational requirements.

As further detailed by Harris, the company plans to expand its manufacturing capacity in Brazil. The planned increase in capacity is part of an overall company expansion in Brazil, one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Harris expects to begin conducting final assembly of the Falcon III RF-7800S and RF-7800V at an existing manufacturing facility. These radios will be delivered to the Brazil Ministry of Defense, including the CCOMGEX, to provide its armed forces with next-generation line-of-sight tactical communications.

Harris has more than 120 employees in Brazil supporting customers in tactical, public safety and government communications and integrated networking solutions. This includes a factory operation in Campinas, Brazil; design, development, support and sales offices in Sao Paulo, SP, Rio de Janeiro, RJ and Macae, RJ; and support offices in Brasilia and Manaus.

The Technology

Harris' RF-7800V family covers the 30 MHz to 108 MHz frequency range and supports data rates up to 192 Kbps, making it the fastest combat net radio available today. The RF-7800V also provides time-critical BMS reports, while delivering simultaneous networked voice and data communications to multiple users. Additionally, the RF-7800V offers Free-Channel Search and dual push-to-talk capabilities for enhanced agility in high-noise or jammed environments.

Harris' Vehicular Base VHF Radio System
Harris' RF-7800S is a lightweight soldier system radio that offers full-duplex voice, dual push-to-talk capabilities and data rates up to 256 Kbps. The radio allows simultaneous communication for voice, data and video with listeners over a range of more than two kilometers. Optimized for maximum performance across highly variable environments, the RF-7800S secure personal role radio provides continuous coverage in the 350 to 450 MHz frequency range. The RF-7800S secure personal radio has been adopted as the standardized personal radio platform for multiple soldier modernization programs around the world.

Harris' RF-7800S

"The RF-7800V and RF-7800S will provide Brazil's Army with secure voice and high-bandwidth data applications such as video combat chat," said Julio Villafane, regional managing director, Caribbean and Latin America Region, Harris RF Communications. "Both radios enable end-to-end solutions that address requirements for real-time, mission-critical information on the battlefield. Harris is proud to work with the Brazilian armed forces on its tactical radio modernization needs."

"Harris is committed to serving as a trusted partner for mission-critical communication products and systems in Brazil in the broadest possible way," said Brendan O'Connell, president, International Business, Harris RF Communications. "Once in place, our local operations will help create new highly skilled jobs within the national defense and public security sectors and provide benefits to our customers, including improved lead time and more direct access to our world-class customer support teams."

The Context

As already anticipated, the two main programs that are currently managed by the Brazilian Army's CCOMGEX are the SISFRON and the Projeto Brigada Braço Forte.

SISFRON (Sistema Integrado de Monitoramento de Fronteiras) is an integrated system of satellites, communications equipments, sensors, armoured vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) to monitor Brazilian land borders. Around 10 billion reais ($6.3bn) will be allocated the project to be spent up to 2019. Last year was focused in the specification of system requirements, while 2012 is dedicated to start-up the implementation of a pilot project that includes acquisition of tactical radios, ground surveillance radars, cameras, as well as the upgrading of the current Brazilian Army's Command and Control system. All the large Brazilian companies (Embraer, Andrade Gutierrez, Odebrecht, Camargo Corrêa) are positioning themselves for the role of prime contractor for the program. International companies such as Thales, EADS, SELEX Sistemi Integrati, Indra, Elbit and Saab supported both the CCOMGEX and Atech for shaping the SISFRON system requirements (a Request for Information was issued last year) and they will eventually participate in the system development by partnering with the selected brazilian contractors.

Projeto Brigada Braço Forte is a $2 billion project to equip Brazilian Army with radios, command and control, intelligence and law enforcement systems to prevent and combat terrorism in the Country. Such acquisitions are required because Brazilian Army is experiencing a rate of obsolescence of tactical equipments that sometimes exceeds the 92%, and this has affected the capacity for coordinating and controlling the troops when they are employed for emergency actions.

References: Harris (1,2), InterAmericanSecurityWatch (3), BlogDefesa.br (4)

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