The US Army has awarded an order to Collins Aerospace Systems to produce and deliver PRC-162 software-defined ground radios for its handheld, manpack and small form factor (HMS) programme.

This is the sixth order secured by Collins Aerospace from the US Army for the next-generation HMS radios under a multiple-award contract to Rockwell Collins, Harris and General Dynamics C4 Systems in February 2016.

The $12.7bn maximum firm-fixed-price contract involves manpack radios, accessories, and related services and is part of the army’s efforts to modernise communications on the battlefield.

Work on this contract is expected to be completed by March 2026.

Collins Aerospace Mission Systems president Phil Jasper said: “Success in today’s multi-domain battlespace depends heavily on secure and reliable communications.

“We’ve applied decades of proven experience in airborne communications to provide the army with a next-generation ground radio that will give troops a heightened level of situational awareness and a tactical advantage.”

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The PRC-162 is a two-channel ground radio featuring both narrowband and wideband. It is capable of supporting high-speed mobile ad hoc networked communications, and point-to-point data and voice next-generation SATCOM.

The radio is both man-portable and vehicle-mountable. It will support the US Department of Defense’s new Mobile User Objective System (MUOS).

In June last year, the PRC-162 passed a critical test to meet MUOS security requirements. Furthermore, the radio secured a Type-1 certification from the National Security Agency (NSA) in September.

It is also interoperable with legacy waveforms and consists of an open-architecture design that allows for future upgrades.

The PRC-162 radio is part of the company’s TruNet networked software-defined communications product offerings, which allow for real-time sharing of data, images, voice and video between assets on the battlefield.