Harris extends wideband networking to US Army brigade at network integration evaluation
Harris Corp. provided first-of-its kind integrated wideband networking capabilities that successfully connected dismounted soldiers to senior commanders within a Brigade Combat Team at the recent US Army Network Integration Evaluation.
Harris deployed a two-channel Falcon III® AN/PRC-117G vehicular system that transmitted voice and wideband data between two separate tactical networks — analogous to a call or text message that moves from one carrier’s cellular phone to another. The system consisted of two AN/PRC-117G radios connected to each other in a vehicular amplifier adapter.
Soldiers at the NIE 12.1, which took place at Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, NM, also integrated the AN/PRC-117G with the new AN/PRC-152A wideband handheld radios to extend networking connectivity from brigade to the tactical edge. The extended system resulted in wideband communication services that covered all of White Sands, an area of 3,200 square miles.
The AN/PRC-152A was used to send voice, data, and position location information from the dismounted soldier over a backbone Adaptive Wideband Networking Waveform (ANW2) network. The AN/PRC-152A is the first NSA Type-1 certified handheld radio to offer wideband networking as well as standard legacy waveforms.
“The two-channel Harris radio systems evaluated at NIE provided soldiers across the battle space with real-time voice, data and video, delivered for the first time over the secure, wideband tactical network,’’ said Maj. Gen. Dennis Moran (Ret.), Vice President, Government Business Development, Harris RF Communications. “This exercise illustrated how our COTS non-developmental item radio technology is playing a major role in the broader wideband network, enabling enhanced communication and collaboration from brigade and battalion level networks down to the individual soldier. We support the Army’s focus on continuous innovation and will continue investing our own research and development resources to bring new technologies to the user, quickly and cost-effectively.’’
The two-channel AN/PRC-117G vehicular system at NIE 12.1 simultaneously operated two wideband waveforms. One radio operated the JTRS Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW), for communication from platoon levels through to company commands; the other radio ran ANW2 and transmitted voice and data from company to battalion and brigade. The Harris system moved information between the SRW and ANW2 networks, allowing for seamless communication across the battlefield, from platoon level to battalion and back.
Once the data reached the ANW2 network, it was populated over the Army’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, providing a common operating picture from the foxhole to the brigade headquarters. Applications used over the Harris Falcon III radios were TIGR, file transfer, chat messages and email. During NIE 12.1, the Harris radios were deployed in rucksacks, vehicles, aerostats, fixed wing aircraft and RAID towers.
The Army also evaluated two additional wideband radio products from Harris: The Highband Networking Radio (HNRe2), which provides an IP-based network with links capable of throughput rates up to 27 Mbps, for VoIP, video and C4I services, and the RF-7800W High-Capacity Line-of-Sight radio, which delivers quick-to-deploy, point-to-point or point-to-multipoint wireless Internet Protocol infrastructure. During the NIE, the HNRe2 delivered nine nodes of critical communications — including IP transmission of ISR data — using terrestrial and airborne assets to establish a backbone network from brigade down to company echelons. The Army used the RF-7800W radios to provide remote video feeds to command posts, battalions and headquarters installations as well as an alternative data link between key nodes.
Harris’ expanded participation in the NIE 12.1 follows its highly successful performance in the inaugural exercise earlier this summer. Shortly after the completion of the first NIE, Harris received a $66.3 M order to provide AN/PRC-117G multiband manpack radios in support of Army tactical radio modernization.