Raytheon radio system networks Stryker combat vehicles in theater

Army could use existing vehicular radios to fill need for tactical wireless Internet

Raytheon said that its battlefield radio recently transmitted data securely over the air to more than 30 Stryker combat vehicles, showing that it could meet the Army's need for a tactical wireless Internet via a vehicle-mounted mobile radio system.

Soldiers of the 4th Brigade 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team (4/2 SBCT) were able to send and receive e-mail and chat messages, as well as access the brigade's intranet-like Web portal, with Raytheon’s EXF1915, an upgraded version of Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) radios. It marks the first time 4/2 SBCT was able to tap into a secure wireless network, according to Raytheon.

"The EPLRS Enhanced Services (ES) extended secure voice, data and email services to the Stryker vehicles of platoon through brigade-level leaders during combat operations forward of tactical bases," said 4/2 SBCT Commander COL Michael Getchell, in a Raytheon press release. "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."

More than 28,000 EPLRS radios have been purchased to provide networking capabilities, and they can be upgraded for less than the cost of a new radio system to support the lower-tier network requirements, according to Raytheon.

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, says Raytheon.

"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, in the company press release.

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 Mid-Tier Networking Vehicle Radio (MNVR) program replaces the cancelled Ground Mobile Radio, and a number of radio manufacturers are pursuing the contract.

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