The US Army's 75th Ranger Regiment has completed the operational assessment of the General Dynamics C4 Systems' developed (GDC4S) software-programmable joint tactical radio system (JTRS) AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radios in Afghanistan.
The operational assessment marked first formal combat use of the single-channel Rifleman radio and also demonstrated its ability to share real-time combat-relevant information, voice and data across small units.
During testing, the Ranger unit outfitted two platoons with radios while conducting various tactical missions in Afghanistan and indicated that the systems greatly assisted their unit's ability to quickly exchange key information including Position Location Information (PLI) across the force.
Joint Program Executive Office (JPEO) JTRS HMS programme manager, colonel John Zavarelli, explained that the radio helped Rangers to establish a mobile, ad-hoc network wherein squad leaders, commanders and dismounted infantry quickly shared and viewed mission essential information using small hand-held, end-user devices.
Using Rifleman radios and SRW, the Rangers were able to network voice, data and information across deploying units in austere environments, without needing to rely upon a GPS systems to communicate across the unit while on-the-move.
The AN/PRC-154 is a lightweight, rugged, body-worn, small form fit (HMS) family of radios capable of transmitting voice, GPS locations and data simultaneously between platoon, squad and team-level soldiers by utilising the soldier radio waveform (SRW) network manager system.
The radio is designed to provide soldiers with enhanced situational awareness by delivering secure (type two) inter-squad communications at the tactical edge of battlefield and also helps team and squad leaders to track dismounted individual soldier GPS locations.
The feedback received from the Rangers also supports the Army's Network Integration Evaluations (NIE) exercises, which aim to identify, integrate and assess capability, systems and technologies for soldiers prior to deployment.
The Army plans to deploy the Rifleman radios across its entire force.