Radios ordered for digitized force

The Army has ordered 33,000 additional tactical data radio systems to be

delivered to airborne units and to help digitize the 4th Infantry Division.

The Enhanced Position Location and Reporting System is billed as the

backbone of the Army's Tactical Internet, a major initiative to equip the

force with a rugged and mobile battlefield capability similar to the commercial

Internet.

EPLRS (pronounced e-plars) is described by Raytheon Co. as "a networked,

software-programmable data-distribution system" that keeps ground and airborne

forces informed about battlefield events and helps them to avoid fratricide.

It offers "cryptographic capability and expanded frequency range," according

to Raytheon.

Raytheon also recently delivered two prototypes of a lighter EPLRS system

dubbed E-Lite. The prototypes, the first two of 10 to be delivered to the

Army program manager for tactical radio communications systems, will be

evaluated at various Army installations.

Raytheon and the Army's program executive office of command, control,

and communications systems jointly developed the lighter version of the

system.

E-Lite is designed to deliver secure, reliable, real-time data communications

to ground forces and selected airborne platforms, including unmanned aerial

vehicles.

"We asked Raytheon to quickly see what they could do to shrink the size

and weight of the full-size EPLRS while retaining the powerful capabilities

that the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force require," said Army Lt.

Col. Glen Lambkin, the EPLRS product manager. "The capability to extend

the range of tactical wireless Internet services without the use of traditional

ground relay vehicles has tremendous ramifications."

Raytheon, the lead architect for the Pentagon's Joint Tactical Radio

System (JTRS) architecture also will begin building EPLRS to meet requirements,

according to a Raytheon spokesperson.

JTRS is a future programmable radio to be used by all services and the

intelligence community, thereby improving the flow of information. The JTRS

program has been estimated to be worth up to $9 billion.

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