Next-gen SATCOM radio delivered for certification testing for U.S. Army

MCKINNEY, Texas. Raytheon won a $36 million Army contract to fund the certification and testing of a new upgrade to the AN/ARC-231 Multi-Mode Communications System. The enhanced systems will enable the highest level of security for voice and data communications for more than 7,000 fixed wing, rotary, and unmanned Army platforms – such as Blackhawks, Apaches, Gray Eagles and Chinooks.

The AN/ARC-231, which will be the newest member of Raytheon's SkyFire product family, is a VHF/UHF multi-band tactical communications system that enables secure, internationally compatible and interoperable voice and data links. A software-defined radio (SDR), the AN/ARC-231 is ready to transition to the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite communications networking waveform, while still having compatibility with legacy air-to-air and air-to-ground line of sight and SATCOM communication requirements.

The contract award came after after the Army received the last of 18 Engineering Development Models (EDM). The AN/ARC-231 advanced hardware design will enable future enhancements via software-only upgrades.

Testing of the upgraded AN/ARC-231 will be performed at Raytheon's facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and at the U.S. Army's Software Engineering Directorate laboratory in Huntsville, Alabama. Testing will eventually result in full cryptographic certification for the upgraded system.