Radios ordered for digitized force
- By George I. Seffers
- Oct 19, 2000
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
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
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
E-Lite is designed to deliver secure, reliable, real-time data communications
to ground forces and selected airborne platforms, including unmanned aerial
"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.