Two military communication leaders, Raytheon Co. and ITT, are collaborating on two new, highly affordable software communication systems, the Microlight-3G and the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Advanced Improvement Program-enhanced (SINCGARS ASIP-E). The new products share common modules, waveform capabilities and operating environments. Pre-production units for user evaluation will be available later this year.

Raytheon’s Microlight-3G is a wearable, software-defined radio that will improve military communication by linking individual warfighters to a tactical Internet. ITT brings its Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) to Microlight-3G. The SRW upgrade complements the wearable radio’s already available Enhanced Position Locating and Reporting System (EPLRS) waveform. The SWR’s addition to Microlight means that soldiers can send and receive secure communication, information and intelligence from all locations, including urban ‘canyons.’ Microlight-3G is a derivative of the 2G model, now fielded as part of the Army’s LandWarrior program.

ITT’s SINCGARS ASIP-E adds ‘Side Hat,’ a small ultra high frequency (UHF) expansion module, to the current SINCGARS ASIP configuration. The expansion module also contains the SWR and ELPRS waveforms so that the resulting SINCGARS ASIP-E offers very high frequency voice and UHF data communication channels for vehicular and manpack operations. This allows mounted soldiers to conduct both voice and data communications simultaneously — a capability extension that gives them immediate updates to command and control information and improves their ability to make critical decisions on the battlefield.

“Microlight-3G, with Raytheon’s EPLRS and ITT’s new SRW, is a wideband capability that we can deliver on an accelerated schedule to our troops,” said Jerry Powlen, Raytheon vice president of Integrated Communications Systems. “Additionally, the Microlight-3G will be capable of interoperating with future JTRS platforms and is designed to embrace new technology as it comes on line.” “This is a watershed event for warfighters,” said Lou Dollive, president of ITT Aerospace/ Communications Division. “Microlight-3G and ASIP-E establish a migration strategy that can put emerging JTRS capabilities in the hands of deployed forces far sooner than we previously anticipated.” Between them Raytheon and ITT have produced more than 75 percent of all the tactical radios that are currently fielded with the US armed forces. ITT’s SINCGARS is the Army’s combat net radio and — with more than 230,000 units fielded — is the most widely deployed military radio in the world. Raytheon’s EPLRS and ITT’s SINCGARS are the Tactical Internet’s foundational communication systems.