The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a contract to L3Harris Technologies to develop a prototype for the L3Harris Falcon Wideband Airborne HF Radio.
The prototype contract allows L3Harris to participate in the competition to replace the USAF’s AN/ARC-190 airborne HF radio.
The development phase will be followed by low-rate initial production and then a full production decision.
L3Harris Falcon Wideband Airborne HF Radio is a software-defined digital multi-mode wideband radio that the company hopes will be able to meet the HF radio modernisation requirement of the service.
Designed to augment space-based beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) systems, the radio provides an alternative capability to enable secure and reliable data and voice in a SATCOM-denied environment.
Using the radio, airmen will be able to communicate data up to ten times quicker than the legacy ARC-190 radios, L3Harris noted.
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L3Harris communication systems DoD tactical communications vice-president and general manager Ryan McCarty said: “The capabilities provided by the L3Harris Falcon Wideband Airborne HF Radio will be a game-changer for the US Air Force, with L3Harris’ modernised software-defined technology that is designed to overmatch in contested and SATCOM-denied environments.
“This prototype development selection expands our airborne product line and brings our leadership in tactical HF radios to the airborne segment.”
The company’s radio is equipped with embedded encryption, electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM), and comes with a low probability of interception and detection (LPI/LPD).
In addition, the radio can be upgraded to add new waveforms and software delivered capabilities.
L3Harris Falcon Wideband Airborne HF Radio is suitable for airborne applications as it consumes less power, as well as having reduced size and weight.
This is due to the form factor that allows three different pieces of equipment to be combined into a single package.
The contract will also allow L3Harris to target the airborne HF segment.