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Thales eyes UK Personal Role Radio replacement programme

The Thales SquadNet soldier radio will be pitched for the UK's forthcoming next-generation personal role radio replacement programme, expected to be launched in 2025. (Thales)

Thales is planning to pitch its SquadNet radio for the UK armed forces' next-generation Personal Role Radio (PRR) replacement programme due to be announced in 2025, Janes learnt at SAE Group's Future Soldier Technology conference held from 11 to 13 March.

According to John Dix, Thales UK sales manager for land communications, SquadNet is a suitable replacement to PRR because of its small form factor, making it a cost-effective solution tailored for dismounted soldiers.

The system being replaced is the Leonardo H4855 PRR, which has been in service with the army for more than 20 years. The PRR is a small, lightweight system designed for short-range communications suitable up to platoon level. The system has a 500 m operating range, weighs 1.5 kg, offers a 20 hour battery life, and has a 38.4 Kbps data rate.

The company is also hoping to receive an order next year for up to 10,000 SquadNet radios for a similar PRR replacement programme in France, Dix said. Ireland has also recently signed a contract for the SquadNet radio, although Dix was unable to provide to Janes the number of units ordered at the time of publication.

SquadNet is a voice-only tactical radio that combines a Thales-developed waveform with built-in GPS, bluetooth, and programmable encryption. The system operates in the 860–890 MHz frequency band, weighs 250 g, and has a point-to-point range of 2.5 km. This can be extended to 6 km in multihop relay mode.

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