The U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon Co. a $36 million contract to fund the certification and testing of a significant upgrade to the AN/ARC-231 Multi-Mode Communications System. The upgraded systems will provide the highest level of security for voice and data communications for more than 7,000 rotary, fixed wing and unmanned Army platforms – including Apaches, Blackhawks, Chinooks and Gray Eagles.
The AN/ARC-231 is a VHF/UHF multi-band tactical communications system that provides high quality, reliable, secure, internationally compatible and interoperable voice and data links. The software-defined AN/ARC-231 is ready for a seamless transition to the emerging Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite communications networking waveform, while retaining full compatibility with legacy air-to-air and air-to-ground Line of Sight and SATCOM communication requirements.
The U.S. Army awarded the contract after receiving the last of 18 Engineering Development Models (EDM). The AN/ARC-231 advanced hardware design will offer untapped capabilities to meet emerging communications requirements through software-only upgrades.
"The completion of EDM deliveries and the start of certification testing mark significant milestones for the AN/ARC-231 upgrade program," said Scott Whatmough, vice president of Integrated Communications Systems for Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems business. "These are critical steps in the process of ensuring Army aviators have the secure communications capabilities they need to accomplish their missions in today's rapidly evolving threat environment."
Testing of the upgraded AN/ARC-231, which will become the newest member of the SkyFire product family, will be conducted at Raytheon's facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and at the U.S. Army's Software Engineering Directorate laboratory in Huntsville, Alabama. Testing will ultimately result in full cryptographic certification for the upgraded system.