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AUSA 2023: Thales pitches SquadNet radio for SBU-E communications

The Thales SquadNet with the SABRE android battle management application hosted on a smartphone and a tablet and connected by Bluetooth. (Thales Defense & Security)

Thales Defense & Security is offering its SquadNet small form factor handheld radio to support the US Army's emerging requirement for communications solutions in the Secure but Unclassified (SBU) environment, a company official told Janes.

Thales' SquadNet is being considered alongside offerings from TrellisWare and L3Harris to fill the SBU-enclave (SBU-E) radio programme, said Gary Kidwell, the company's vice-president of Communications Systems.

Army officials from Program Executive Office Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) released a request for information (RFI) for the SBU-E radio requirement in December 2022, with Thales and “six to seven other vendors” submitting proposals for the programme, Kidwell told Janes during an 11 October interview.

The SquadNet radio is already employed by the British Army and other US allies across Europe, Kidwell said. The radio, which can interlink with the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK), allows for voice and data transmissions across the network, he said.

The submissions then went through a series of soldier evaluation events beginning in the April to May timeframe. The initial soldier evaluation of the SquadNet radio for the SBU-E requirement took place with the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, Kidwell said during the interview, held at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) 2023 annual conference in Washington, DC.

After officials at PEO C3T downselected the potential vendor list to the three proposals from Thales, TrellisWare, and L3Harris, the systems were evaluated at the service's Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

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