Raytheon is implementing the Satellite Communication (SATCOM) enhancement for all of its deployed AN/ARC-231 airborne radio terminals by upgrading the Integrated Waveform (IW) software at no cost to end-users.

The US Department of Defense’s (Dod) IW software Joint Chiefs of Staff Office approved the upgrade following field tests and extensive regression testing conducted by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Joint Interoperability Test Command respectively.

Under the programme, new production as well as more than 5,000 currently deployed ARC-231 radios will receive the IW enhancement with minimal impact and operator intervention in order to increase the soldiers’ mission capabilities in theatre.

Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems business ARC-231 senior programme manager, David Patton, said: "Full backward compatibility is provided with this software update to minimise any changes to existing equipment installations. This approach is part of Raytheon’s commitment to provide readily available, high-performance, high-quality products to the warfighters."

The upgrade is designed to bridge the gap between the current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite systems, which is reaching the end of its lifecycle and the replacement system, a Mobile User Objective System satellite constellation (MUOS).

The upgrade will also provide an increase of several hundred networks for ARC-231 radio users, which earlier had limited capacity, causing communication delays in theatre.

Additional benefits include improved link margin, improved voice quality and a simpler setup procedure for ARC-231 SATCOM operators.

The AN/ARC-231 radio system is designed to support DoD requirements for airborne, multi-band, multi-mission, secure anti-jam voice, data and imagery transmission and provides network-capable communications.

The radio is widely used by several army helicopters including MH-60L/M and UH-60L/M Black Hawks, UH-1N Hueys, AH-64 Apaches and US Air Force (USAF) RC-135 Rivet Joint and Joint-STARS aircraft.