Field upgrade allows Manpack radios to communicate with MUOS satellite

The Army will upgrade 100 Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) AN/PRC-155 two-channel Manpack radios so they can communicate with the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite communications system. 

The MUOS channel upgrade kit will be provided by General Dynamics C4 Systems under a $5 million contract, and comprise a field-replaceable power amplifier and supporting software. The kit will allow secure voice and data communication with the MUOS system.

"By upgrading fielded PRC-155 radios, the Army will greatly enhance soldier effectiveness by providing a 10-fold increase in SATCOM capacity for secure, over-the-horizon military communications," said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems, in a company statement.  "MUOS access on the two-channel PRC-155 will also allow current Army networks to be bridged and extended far beyond their current reach."

The two-channel PRC-155 Manpack radio already runs several waveforms, including the Soldier Radio Waveform that connects dismounted soldiers to the network, the Wideband Networking Waveform that transports large amounts of data and the legacy SINCGARS waveform for communication with existing radios.

Using the PRC-155's two-channel capability, soldiers operating on any one of these waveforms on one channel can interconnect with soldiers using another waveform on the second channel. With the MUOS capability in the PRC-155, a network of soldiers can be interconnected with others in a far distant location, according to GDC4.

The MUOS waveform, based on the communications interface found in commercial cellular networks, will deliver high-speed voice and data communications and 10-times greater capacity than the military's current Ultra High Frequency satellite communications system. With a smartphone-like flow of information, the upgraded PRC-155 radios will allow soldiers to access the MUOS communications system wherever they are deployed, on foot or from land vehicles, ships, submarines and aircraft.

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