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  • Tactical Radio Operations
    Posted by Sean Meade 12:03 PM on Oct 09, 2008

    Harris had two products they emphasized to me at AUSA.

    The first is their Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite terminals (news release). It's the first tactical satellite terminal 'with the capability of transmission/reception of Top Secret global wideband data communications.'


    blog post photo


    One interesting ability of the BGAN is backstopping traditional radio communications. So, if you're running a network from the Humvee above and travel out of normal radio contact, the BGAN can seamlessly continue network operations by switching over to satellite connectivity.

    In the same way, BGAN can be used to set up satellite communications instantly anywhere in the world. So, you could have soldiers parachuting into a locale where traditional radios won't do them any good. Maybe they have a target but want to update their target data. They could jump in with BGAN, set up comms and receive real-time streaming video from a UAV over the target.

    The second product Harris showed is the Secure Personal Radio (SPR) (pdf product sheet). It's 'an advanced tactical radio that provides secure voice and data connectivity to every member of the squad.' Those of us not involved in military operations might think every squad member has a radio, but this is not currently the case. American ground forces want to move in that direction and radios like the SPR aim to make it possible.


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    The demonstration model SPR that I saw was like the setup in this picture. The soldier above is wearing the SPR base unit on his body (with the antenna) and jacked into it with a PDA.

    One interesting change in operations that radios like these will make possible is keeping track of every soldier in the squad with a GPS fix sent by their radio. Squad leaders set up like the soldier pictured could operate with a map showing the position of each of their soldiers.

    Photos: Harris

    Tags: ar99, ausa, harris

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