Satnews Daily
November 18th, 2013

General Dynamics C4 Systems—Melding Manpacks + MUOS (SATCOM)

[SatNews] Two General Dynamics C4 Systems-developed AN/PRC-155 two-channel Manpack radios successfully completed secure voice and data calls from Alaska and the Arctic Circle, using the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) waveform to connect with the MUOS satellite and ground communications network.

The demonstration's success is a significant operational milestone for the PRC-155 Manpack radio.

"Exposed to sub-freezing temperatures and blistering arctic winds, the PRC-155 Manpack radio is the first and only military radio to deliver secure voice and data connectivity with the MUOS system from the highest latitudes on the planet," said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems. "The success of this demonstration proves that with a MUOS-capable PRC-155 Manpack radio, soldiers operating in extreme and isolated locations will always be connected to the Soldier's Network."

Artistic rendition of the MUOS satellite.
Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin.
The demonstration took place in mid-October and covered a number of realistic operational scenarios that included fixed-site locations around Anchorage and Barrow, Alaska and aboard aircraft flying throughout the Arctic Circle. During the demonstration, the PRC-155 two-channel radio completed multiple one-to-one voice and data calls as well as conference calls connecting more than five participants.

Reaching the MUOS satellite communications network from high latitudes is particularly challenging due to the physics associated with how radio signals reach the MUOS satellites in geosynchronous orbit around the equator.

Other performance milestones demonstrating the AN/PRC-155 two-channel Manpack radio's connectivity with the MUOS satellite communications network include:

  • August 2013: For the first time, General Dynamics C4 Systems connected a soldier's handheld AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radio to the on-orbit MUOS satellite via a two-channel AN/PRC-155 Manpack radio
  • April 2013: Completed secure radio-to-radio voice and data communications tests through the MUOS satellite network
  • February 2012: The first demonstration of secure voice and data communications to a MUOS satellite simulator using the MUOS waveform via the AN/PRC-155 Manpack radio

The General Dynamics-developed MUOS waveform, based on the communications interface found in commercial cellular networks, delivers high-speed voice and data communications with 10-times greater capacity than the military's current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite communications system. With a smartphone-like flow of information, the MUOS-capable PRC-155 radios will allow soldiers to access the MUOS communications system wherever they are deployed.

The PRC-155 Manpack radio connects soldiers to the Army's backbone network, the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) – the Soldier's Network. The PRC-155 Manpack also bridges other networks – legacy to future, lower to upper echelons and unclassified to classified networks allowing everyone, from the command center to the soldier on the edge of the battlefield, to stay connected to the tactical network.