August Radio Roundup

Comtech Troposcatter Radio
The US Army is receiving new Comtech troposcatter communications equipment which will improve army beyond line-of-sight communications and integrate seamlessly with other army communications systems.

Armada’s monthly round-up of all the latest military communications news in the product, programme and operational domains.

New US Army Troposcatter Communications

Comtech announced in a press release in mid-July it had won a $30 million contract to provide its Troposcatter Family of Systems (FOS) to the US Army. A recent Radioflash! podcast from Armada provided a detailed discussion of troposcatter communications. These new troposcatter systems will support US Army beyond-line-of-sight tactical communications. Daniel Gizinski, Comtech’s chief strategy officer, told Armada that “Comtech’s next generation Troposcatter FOS are delivering performance enhancements that represent up to a one-thousand-fold increase over former generations of troposcatter radios.” The new systems the company is delivering have capabilities “beyond just long range fixed backhaul to small form factor tactical systems that can be set up in a matter of minutes, and even potentially translate to on-the-move communications as we recently demonstrated. This capability allows customers to deploy troposcatter down to lower echelons and provide a rapidly deployable extension capability.” Mr. Gizinski continued that Comtech’s troposcatter apparatus works seamlessly with other US Army communications. He added that the company’s products can be easily updated. New software applications can enhance performance and meet emerging mission needs as and when these become available.

Flexible Response

FlexRadio announced on 10th July that it had commenced shipments of its ML-9600 series High Frequency (HF: three megahertz/MHz to 30MHz) transceivers. A company press release said that the radios meet the US Department of Defence’s MIL-STD-188-110 stipulations for HF communications protocols. The radios can also perform second-, third- and fourth-generation automatic link establishment. Although ML-9600 series radios can support military operations Stephen Hicks, FlexRadio’s chief technology officer, told Armada that initial customers “are primarily government and university laboratories and research organisations who are utilising the highly adaptable software defined radio architecture for testing and waveform development, particularly those requiring wideband transmit and receive capabilities.” Mr. Hicks added that deliveries of the first ML-9600 radios commenced in June. Deliveries were made to research and development organisation customers. Mr. Hicks added that FlexRadio is “in discussions with various government agencies about operational fielding.”

FlexRadio’s new ML-9600W HF radio is part of the company’s overall ML-9600 series. Initial deliveries have been made to research and development organisations, with government sales expected to follow soon.

PacStar Evolves

Curtiss-Wright has launched its PacStar SMCP (Secure Mesh Command Post) member of its PacStar product series for unified network communications management, the company announced in a press release. The document said that the PacStar SMCP design provides two-layer CSFC (Commercial Solutions for Classified) encryption to protect data. PacStar SMCP provides a secure vehicle-to-vehicle tactical communications architecture for use in expeditionary environments, the press release continued. The new product uses Curtiss-Wright’s PacStar-400 deployable communications hardware at its core and PacStar SMCP can support any wired or wireless network. Curtiss-Wright told Armada in a written statement that the new product also uses its PacStar-444 switches and PacStar-451 servers. The CSFC “multi-site connectivity capability package (allows) customers wireless access to networks up to Top Secret across the meshed environment.” In addition, the company “has already provided integrated PacStar SMCP hardware to customers and is currently working collaboratively under contract with them on the integration and NSA (US National Security Agency) registration of these solutions. We are actively supporting test and deployment of these solutions during current and ongoing lab and deployment exercises.”

Curtiss Wright’s new PacStar SMCP product provides two-layer CSFC encryption to help protect data security particularly for vehicle-to-vehicle tactical communications.

by Dr. Thomas Withington