The US Army is to upgrade its helicopter fleet with the Raytheon-built RT-1987 radio, the first such upgrade since 2005.
At a demonstration at the Redstone Arsenal Engineering Lab in Huntsville, Alabama, US, the radio interfaced with the multiple flight management systems that control the radio and provide status updates to aircrew.
The fleet consists of Chinook, Apache and Black Hawk aircraft.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems business integrated communications systems vice-president Scott Whatmough said: "This demonstration proves that the Raytheon radios work with the legacy system and enable greater data sharing and increased security."
The newest member of Raytheon's SkyFire family of software-defined radios, the RT-1987 is designed to address the US Government's data security requirements and works seamlessly with legacy communications systems, simplifying installation and saving millions in integration costs.
In addition to supporting all of the traditional capabilities of the fleet's existing system, the upgraded radio also meets the requirements of joint tactical radio system (JTRS) software standards.
It features modern cryptography capabilities designed to offer data security and seamless support of the mobile-user objective system (MUOS) satellite communications network, providing more than ten times the capacity of the older system it replaces.
The equipment upgrade is backward compatible with current equipment installations, which will help minimise platform modifications, simplify installation and reduce costs.
Developed for rotary and fixed wing, as well as manned and unmanned aircraft, the SkyFire radio family implements the software communication architecture (SCA), making it easy to port a waveform from the government repository.
In addition, the radios support several additional capabilities, including the new soldier radio waveform (SRW) that was demonstrated to the army in 2013.