The US Army has placed new orders with technology company Harris for the delivery of 1,540 units of AN/PRC-163 handheld radios.

In addition to the dual-channel radios, the scope of the project also involves delivery of related equipment and services as part of the US Army’s two-channel Leader radio indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract.

Harris’ AN/PRC-163 equipment allows users to transmit data up and down the chain of command, and also across the battlefield network backbone.

Harris Communication Systems president Dana Mehnert said: “The AN/PRC-163 is the most advanced software-defined handheld radio in the world today and will provide our warfighters and commanders with unprecedented capabilities, including enhanced levels of command and control, and situational awareness.

“These two-channel Leader radio orders are an important milestone in the modernisation of the army’s tactical network.”

“These two-channel Leader radio orders are an important milestone in the modernisation of the army’s tactical network.”

Incorporating secure two-channel connectivity in a lightweight, easy-to-use, handheld rugged system, the radio is capable of simultaneously transmitting voice, data and situational awareness through Mobile Ad-Hoc Networking (MANET) applications, very-high frequency (VHF) / ultra-high frequency (UHF) line-of-sight and legacy SATCOM.

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This will help enable software-only updates for mobile user objective system (MUOS), second generation anti-jamming tactical UHF radio for NATO (SATURN) and other emerging waveforms in the future.

Formerly known as RF-335M-STC, Harris’ AN/PRC-163 radio offers dual-channel crossbanding capabilities in a single, size, weight and power (SWaP)-optimised handheld equipment.

The system features a double-height LCD screen to provide warfighters with mission-critical information, while improved situational awareness is provided through the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission module’s full-motion video capabilities.