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AUSA 2017: Resurgence of the HF radio

2nd October 2017 - 02:10 GMT | by Beth Maundrill in London

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As military users look to High Frequency (HF) radio technology to support operations in SATCOM denied areas, radio manufacturer Harris will soon deliver its 1,000th next-generation HF radio.

Initially launched in February 2017 as the exportable Falcon III RF-300H Manpack solution Harris confirmed to Shephard the domestic US variant will be known as the AN/PRC-160, a follow on from its AN/PRC-150.

The AN/PRC-160 is a wideband HF radio that has the ability to transfer data, including files and images, as well as voice, an enhancement from its AN/PRC-150 predecessor.

Speaking to Shephard Chris Aebli, vice president of US Department of Defence (DoD) business said: ‘Recently there has been a resurgence of HF communications due to the issues when using SATCOM in denied environments which can be down to two things, no capacity available from the satellites or the region of operation having no satellite coverage.’

Aebli explained that while in the past HF was good at providing long haul Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS), communications the traditional narrow band HF radios could be slow, provide voice only communications and required a lot of training.

Technology has moved forward and while a certain level of training is still required the equipment is now a lot more user friendly.

While the company is still delivering and supporting the AN/PRC-150, Aebli expects that the new AN/PRC-160 will eventually replace the legacy radio.

Looking ahead Aelbi said it is likely that the future will see a compliment of capability with no single reliance on SATCOM or HF communications.

‘I think we will see a suite of capabilities, not having to rely on one or the other,’ he said.

The AN/PRC-160 meets new NSA crypto-modernisation standards for secure Type 1 Top Secret and below voice and data. It can also be put in the place of legacy radios without the need to replace the entire vehicle kit.

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