Army plans $1.4 billion radio purchase

Army plans $1.4 billion radio purchase

The U.S. Army later this year plans to start two competitions to buy potentially more than $1.4 billion worth of battlefield radios.

The service wants to spend as much as $750 million on smartphone-compatible Rifleman Radios, single-channel radios held or worn by soldiers; and as much as $700 million on so-called Manpack radios, two-channel devices usually worn in a soldier’s rucksack, according to a source document obtained by Military​.com. It didn’t specify quantities, though at least one of the purchases is expected to total almost 200,000 devices.

Competitions for the fixed-price contracts are expected to begin sometime after July 1, with the release of a request for proposals, according to the document. Both awards are scheduled to be issued in fiscal 2014, beginning Oct. 1, and last five years, including a base year and four one-year options, it states.

The Army will hold a forum next month for companies interested in competing for the manpack radios.

General Dynamics Corp., based in Falls Church, Virginia, now supplies the Army with both types of radios. Potential competitors will probably include Harris Corp., based in Melbourne, Florida, and Exelis Inc., based in McLean, Virginia, among others.

The devices are part of the Joint Tactical Radio System, a family of radios in development since the 1990s.

While the Defense Department in recent years has canceled or downsized other programs in the system, it has recently supported further development of General Dynamics’ program, known in military parlance as Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit, or HMS. The Pentagon last year authorized the Army to buy a total of more than 19,000 Rifleman Radios from the company — about 10 percent of the program’s planned quantity — while holding a competition for the next and final phase of production.

The Army is deploying to Afghanistan its first brigade of soldiers outfitted with Rifleman Radios and smartphones such as the Motorola Atrix, which work together to display secure information such as troop movements.

The Army plans to spend about $3.8 billion in 2013 on communications equipment such as radios, networking and satellite systems, according to a January report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. The figure includes about $1 billion in research and development and $2.8 billion in procurement. It expects to spend about $3 billion annually on communications gear for the foreseeable future.

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I guess the new ones will be using hardware encrypted digital signals.

what you just said doesnt make sense.

What part?

hardware encrypted digital signals. Are you talking about type 1 crypto?

Type 1 crypto is just a classification. An approved standard(NSA).
The new gen will probably use the GHz freq instead VHF FM

You said hardware encrypted. Hardware encryption means the hardware crypto. The frequency band has nothing to do with encryption. The rifleman radios can and have always used VHF and UHF for digital data.

Yes, you can either have a hardware(a chip) doing the encryption for you or a software. Sometimes even both!

The frequency has nothing to do with the encryption? of course it does. The higher the freq the more info you can put in there. The freq they will use will be much higher than UHF.
You have no idea what you are talking about and are also in a bad mood.
This conversation is over!

You can encrypt anything. What you are trying to say is the higher the freq the more data you can put in it. old HF radios could be encrypted.

Freqency has nothing to do with the amount of data transmitted/received. That is something called bandwidth. Obviously you know nothing about radio communcations.

yes but bandwidth at low frequencies come with a price of range ask the navy about it with their low frequecy radios for talking to subs thats why messages are generally (relatively) short. In essence the higher the bandwidth you try to push at a frequency the shorter the range at the same transmission power. Speaking data of corse that is why as wi-fi has gotten better the frequencies have gotten higher more waveforms per second allow more info to be encoded on them

Where are they made–not just the whole radio but each component? I hope they say by legal Americans within our borders.

Finally one person that knows a little bit about RF.

I hope they work for what the market will bear, and return value to the investors.

No, these will be in the same bands as before and are able to communicate with legacy VHF and UHF radios that are already in the field.

It does

My opinion is why change something that is not broken.…

“broken” as in compromised?

Ghz is a frequency and not a freguency range. i.e HF 3-30Mhz, VHF 30–300 MHz, UHF 300 — 3000 MHz. Note that the UHF range has GHz in it 1–3 GHz. So both woodrow wilson and you might be correct in saying that UHF or GHz radio could be the frequency/range of the new ones. Most smart phones are in the 700–900 MHz range. The one known fact in RF is as the frequency gets higher you lose more power of the signal as the distance increases. So these radios if they are in the GHz range would not be able to transmit very far.

freq doesn’t matter, in 60’s we vhf, hf ‚uhf, shf encryption, pretty fast stuff, and voice encryption also, I was a navy communicator

Why do they not just go to Wal Mart and buy a track phone for $19?

Not a radio man, but the price tag seems to be a helluva lot.! How many men per company will be carrying one.? What will be the compromise results if one falls into enemy hands.? Is it possible to jam.? USAFE8RET

Please go back and reread the article. It says one radio for EVERY soldier in the combat unit.

The frequency doesn’t matter? How little you know about radios of all kinds!
Voice encryption? That is simply and securily done nowadays with a few VLSI chips.
What is a lot more difficult to encrypt and decrypt are video and high-data-rate computer data.
Also, the digital data rates during the 1960s and 70s were Mickey Mouse low compared with what we use nowadays.
Also, your comment exhibits lack of knowledge of the difference between digital data rates and the RF carrier waves that are used in all radio communications, no matter what band they are using..

“one known fact in RF is as the frequency gets higher, you loose more signal power as the distanct increases”.
COMPLETELY FALSE. Frequency has nothing to do with the loss of power as distance increases. The Inverse Square Law has nothing to do with frequency.

An exception to this is that within the atmosphere, there is more lossiness due to rainfall, clouds, or fog in the air. In outer space, or on clear days, the frequency makes no difference.

Also, in the context of radio communications within an infantry platoon or company, there are ways to use low levels of RF power so that the signals can be received by friendly soldiers, but attenuated and NOT detected by the enemy. Otherwise, radio transmissions would give away the locations of our or friendly troops to the enemy. Then the enemy could just call in an artillery barrage, a rocket attack, or some tanks.

The market for simple electonic components, such as small IC chips, transistors, resistors, capacitors, etc., is an international one, and EVERYONE buys what the project needs at the best price and good quality. Just face up to this. I worked on an RF communication project for the Army, and the simple stuff came from everywhere: Malaysia, Singapore, Scotland, Italy.
On the other hand, all of the big, complicated stuff, such as custom VLSIs, microprocessors, and power amplifiers in D.O.D. projects are made in the U.S.A. Also, things like the custom-made circuit boards, mechanical housings, etc., are made here, too.
Still, the overall product contains lots of international products. Just face up to the fact that this is the way that the electronics components market works.

You have no idea that the communication systems must be improved and upgraded as the technology gets better and better. Also, the requirements of the Army and the Marine Corps keep on going up.

No, not at all, not at all. Your comment was uncalled for.

We do not need smartass remarks like yours around here.
If you cannot contribute something positive, then remain silent.

I think what was being said was that if your output power level is the same on 150 MHz vs 300 MHz, the 300 MHz carrier will have a lower signal strength at a fixed distance from the transmitter then the 150 MHz carrier will. Over any distance, the higher the frequency, the greater the signal strength loss.

don’t they use frequency hopping technology? That greatly increases security and reduces the ability of one to jam. And a jamming unit probably won’t waste energy on an individual soldier unit.

SINCGARS has been in the system since 1989, and it is a freq hop radio. All of the current systems are secure and each one is HIGHLY capable. The problems arise with compatibility, portability, and overall equipment footprint (ie– how much space does it take up and how much does it weigh?). The RTs have been getting smaller and better, but the aforementioned problems are the issue. Additionally, it was not in the MTO&E to have each troop equiped with an RT, we have since learned that it is very beneficial. Finally, when you look at what these systems cost, you would be able to see how they blow through that much money JUST on radios! A single PSC-5D will hit you for 27K!! ASIP SINCGARS will hit you for 7K apiece. All of these radios are secure and if one is compromised, there are procedures to limit the damage to mission.

Nothing is impossible to jam, but keep in mind that the current field radio, the SINCGARS, cost the Army roughly 5K a pop. They are still fairly secure, but are getting outdated bit by bit. If the Army is wise, it will stay ahead of the curve and start replacing them now, then give the old hardware to Afghanistan or something.

Lets do the math here… Military​.com states that at least one of the orders could be for 200,000 units, with one order totaling $750m and the other $700m this means that the approximate cost per radio would be $3750 or $3500 per radio.….. that seems a little excessive per radio and or price gouging the US gov and its tax payers.

well now…we buy foreign cars by the millions over American so why not buy foreign radios? A company in Japan makes some military grade all mode all bands radios for less than $1000 each and hand held, manpack and portable too. I know they are not made in usa but there are only other 1–2 companys left here in USA that makes radios. Parts for American made radios would have to be imported from a foreign company as most of the electronics manufactures have gone out of business or a few moved off shore. SHAME TOO !!!!!! seems like “saving money” is a bad idea in this government these days. Just my 2 cents.


You ever had your azz shot at????????????? I don’t think so. Semper Fi

It’s not at all excessive. Most of what you pay for is ruggedness and durability under all conditions…the housing and skin surrounding the electronics is high tech. Then the software. These are digital radios and basically handheld computers. Encryption and trunking software is costly too. I sell this type of stuff and the margin is very low in these big deals and it’s really competetive. DoD will negotiate fiercely. Wish Motorola was in the deal. That’s what I sell. Semper Fi.

I do not understand the use of having smartphone-capability if there had to be a nuclear war. Its as if there is just an urge to spend. I was reading the MEADS post and I note that there is no urgency in developing an improved anti missile system but smartphones appear to be a priority. Where is it all going wrong?

I’ve been out for a few years now, are they replacing the PRC 119s?

trust me .. there is a way to jam any radio signal. They can ‘hop’ bop’ and voice ‘crop’ the signal anyway they like but all radio wave are over the air sent. RF canons are ez to make and will render ANY radio equip useless (ruin) up to about 700 feet,

You should serve my country rather than find fault.

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