General Dynamics team to upgrade Army’s Combat Net Radios

General Dynamics Canada is teaming with Rockwell Collins Canada and SigmaPoint Technologies to upgrade the Canadian Forces’ existing fleet of Combat Net Radios. On Friday, the government awarded GDC a $122 million, three-year contract to increase the throughput and speed of data transmission of the 23-year old radios, allowing for simultaneous operation of voice, messaging and positional awareness reporting.

“The enhanced capabilities will maintain the viability of the Combat Net Radio for another decade and allow soldiers to operate on a modern battlefield with safety and awareness of what is going on around them,” said David Ibbetson, vice president, General Dynamics C4 Systems International.

General Dynamics, Rockwell Collins and SigmaPoint Technologies of Cornwall, Ontario, will provide software and hardware upgrades, replacing the cryptographic and data transmission modules for more than 11,000 net radios and 6,800 vehicle interface units (VIU). SED Systems of Saskatoon will perform modifications to the VIUs.

According to GDC, “the Combat Net Radio is the primary means of transmitting and receiving tactical voice and data communications on all Army operations and training missions. The [VIU] is a 50-watt amplifier that boosts the signal from the radio, thereby increasing its communication range.”

The Army is expected to take initial delivery of the upgraded Combat Net Radios in May 2015, with final delivery in 2017.

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