L3Harris Technologies [LHX] will deliver its Falcon IV handheld radios to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) so its Airmen can connect to the Air Force Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), the company said.
The radios will incorporate next-generation waveforms, improve the resilience of tactical edge networks, and provide secure ground-to-air communications interoperability for close air support, according to L3Harris.
Such radios are intended to equip pilots from the Tactical Air Control Party for the Joint Terminal Attack Controller mission.
The company received $ 42 million for the radios, $ 10 million under a contract last year with the Naval Information Warfare System Command Portable Radio Program in support of the Air Force.
The Air Force’s budget for fiscal 2022 calls for $ 204 million for ABMS – an increase of $ 46 million from the amount decided in fiscal 2021. ABMS is the Air Force component in the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control or JADC2, the military Internet of Things, which is designed to accelerate decision-making.
Last week the DoD said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved the Pentagon’s JADC2 strategy (Defense daily, June 4th).
L3Harris said “The Air Force Special Warfare Program Office is using the Falcon IV family of radios and C4I intercom equipment to provide secure communications in support of the Global Access, Precision Strike and Personnel Recovery mission areas.”
“The AN / PRC-163 and AN / PRC-167 are software-defined multichannel radios that use NSA-certified Type 1 encryption that enables reduced SWaP [size, weight, and power], Multiband and multi-mission communication. The radio’s familiar but improved user interface is easy to use, and the flexible software-defined architecture allows users to quickly add new waveforms. The radios provide a resilient communication platform for the combined common All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) for voice and data network connections with the US Army and other armed forces. “
Dana Mehnert, President of Communications Systems at L3Harris, said in a statement that “AN / PRC-163 and AN / PRC-167 offer maximum flexibility within the CJADC2 construct”.
Last month, the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. said the Air Force would begin using ABMS. The service has tapped Brig. Gen. Jeffery Valenzia to lead combat aircraft requirements and integration for ABMS.