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C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

USN selects Harris’s newest WBHF radio for SATCOM backup

19 October 2017

Harris Corporation has developed a new high-frequency (HF) radio that is partially intended to mitigate against a loss in satellite communications (SATCOM).The new AN/PRC-160 WBHF radio is a part of a large US Navy purchase of Harris systems. The radio is designed to provide long-distance communications when SATCOM is unavailable. (IHS Markit/Geoff Fein) The new AN/PRC-160 WBHF radio is a part of a large US Navy purchase of Harris systems. The radio is designed to provide long-distance communications when SATCOM is unavailable. (IHS Markit/Geoff Fein)

According to Harris, “The AN/PRC-160 is the only standalone solution beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications in absence of SATCOM, and is the only HF manpack that conforms to the National Security Agency’s new crypto-modernisation standards. The radio includes software-programmable Harris Sierra II encryption to enable secure type 1 interoperability, and the radio is fully compatible with the Harris Falcon II HF kit, as well as the PRC-150 power amplifiers, antenna couplers, and vehicle mounts.”

The AN/PRC-160 provides wideband data rates up to 120 kbps. The radio weighs 4.1 kg without batteries, and is certified military standard 810G for ground tactical.

Chris Aebli, vice-president of Harris’s defence tactical communications department, told Jane’s that the manpack radio is built from the company’s AN/PRC-150, which is the previous version of its very high frequency (VHF) capability and remains a standard across the US Department of Defense, NATO, and other parties.

Wideband high frequency (WBHF) provides higher throughput, and the ability to transmit video, voice, and data instead of voice only.

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