US Army introduces RIC-U for real-time communication with allies

Talal Husseini 7 May 2019 (Last Updated May 7th, 2019 12:50)

The US Army Futures Command (AFC) has introduced the Radio Interoperability Capability – Universal (RIC-U) that will allow secure, real-time radio communication between the US Army and its coalition partners during multi-national operations, and also protect access to the US Army’s tactical network.

US Army introduces RIC-U for real-time communication with allies
The RIC-U is a voice bridge for tactical radios that will allow US forces to seamlessly talk with allies during multi-national operations, yet still protect access to the Army’s tactical network. Credit: US Army C5ISR Center.

The US Army Futures Command (AFC) has introduced the Radio Interoperability Capability – Universal (RIC-U) that will allow secure, real-time radio communication between the US Army and its coalition partners during multi-national operations, and also protect access to the US Army’s tactical network.

The RIC-U has been developed by the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), a subordinate command within AFC. The CCDC’s Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center devised, fabricated and tested the device.

Complying with the requirements of the National Security Agency for a tactical voice bridge, RIC-U can be upgraded to meet future interoperability requirements between the US Army communication service radios and those used by allies.

C5ISR Center’s Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate lead engineer for RIC-U Rex Johnson said: “The RIC-U converts the voice to digital, applies filtering, keys up and passes the voice onto the other radio network almost instantly, and eliminates any data that could accidentally transmit through the actual device.”

The RIC-U has been designed to work with the radio voice networks of many US coalition partners.

“The RIC-U has been designed to work with the radio voice networks of many US coalition partners.”

The C5ISR Center is testing the RIC-U with Eighth United States Army (EUSA) and the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; the 77th Armor Regiment; US Army Africa; and US Army Europe.

Previously, the Radio Interoperability Capability – Korea (RIC-K), a customised tactical radio communication link, was designed for direct, secure communication between the US and South Korean soldiers on the Korean Peninsula.

EUSA Assistant Chief Of Staff for G6 Col Randolph S Wardle said: “The RIC-K has proved itself when using different frequencies, hop sets, communications security and waveforms between ROK and US radios. It provides us with an immediate fight-tonight capability, needed during combined operations.”

RIC-U is one of six technologies that CCDC has showcased at the biennial event, DoD Lab Day, at the Pentagon last month.

CCDC commanding general Major General Cedric T Wins said: “Our warfighters need to be agile, expeditionary and interoperable, so we are developing tactical network solutions that are mobile, hardened, resilient and able to operate in degraded and contested environments.

“The RIC-U is just one of many examples of how we’ve aligned our programs and resources to address army modernisation priorities and challenges to the warfighter.”

The DoD Lab Day is hosted by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Defense Laboratories Office.