Wednesday, January 31, 2007

PRC-148 JEM: First Tactically Deployed JTRS Radio

From Defense Industry Daily:
The AN/PRC-148 MBITR is the hand-held radio for USSOCOM, the most widely fielded multi-band portable radio in the US armed services, and is also in use by many NATO Special Forces. Special Operations Technology has described the 31-ounce PRC-148 multiband inter/intra team radio (MBITR) as "one of the many communications marvels that made the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq possible" thanks to its small size, software-based structure, and virtually complete interoperability with other military radios and commercial systems. With lithium ion batteries, the user can reportedly expect about 8-10 hours of life. In addition, they note, "More than one Pentagon official has singled out the MBITR for praise during recent operations in Afghanistan."

Now Thales Communication has received a $43 million order for AN/PRC-148 JTRS Enhanced MBITR, or JEM radios. They represent the first radios to be fielded for tactical use under the US military's transformational JTRS program. DID explains how the PRC-148 became so popular, and offers a glimpse into the development model that made them first out of the gate with a tactically-deployed, (partly) JTRS-compliant product.

"This item is not available for online purchase." This is, of course, due to the US Type 1 encryption capabilities included in all versions of the PRC-148. A version called the AN/PRC-6809 MBITR Clear is available without encryption, for use by militaries that would find ITAR export approval in this sensitive area difficult. It's also an option for public safety workers like police, firefighters, et. al., who either do not require encryption or are satisfied with the PRC-6809's Level III DES option.

You can read more about this radio and its capabilities at