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AUSA 2018: New generation radio certified

11th October 2018 - 15:47 GMT | by Damian Kemp in Washington DC

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Rockwell Collins has received Type 1 certification from the US National Security Agency for the sixth generation of its ARC-210 RT-2036(C) networked communications airborne radio.

This paves the way for the potential sale of tens-of-thousands of radios required in the medium term to replace early generations of the same radio.

The certification of the radio follows from the same stamp being given in late September to the company’s AN/PRC-162 (V)1 RT-2048(C)U military ground radio (pictured), which has vehicle and manpack variants. Both radios were on display at the AUSA exhibition in Washington DC, from 5-8 October.

The latest version of the ARC-210 meets the requirements of the US Department of Defense’s Mobile User Objective System as well as old waveforms such as SINCGARS and Havequick for backward compatibility. There is a US mandate to modernise radios to a higher level of crypto security in the medium term – older radios are no longer certified for this and they will need to be replaced.

Rockwell has sold 65,000 of older generation ARC-210 and 45,000 of these remain in service on a range of aircraft such as F-16 and F/A-18 fast jets as well as larger aircraft which sometimes carry multiple radios. 

A company official said the new generation was designed to meet the booming requirements of operators. ‘There is more demand for more information which means more channels and more waveforms,’ he said.

The AN/PRC-162 (V)1 RT-2048(C)U radio is two channel and is able to connecct to satellites to provide a link for beyond line-of-sight communications for single soldiers via their own radios. The interfaces on the back of the vehicle radio allow for the use of connectors in existing vehicles.

The radio is in low-rate initial production for the US Army on the back of an IDIQ signed in 2016 and deliveries for the first order of 1,100 units is expected to begin late in 2018 with the possibility of further orders in the first half of 2019.

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