Military Embedded Systems

ARC-23 radios get free software upgrade from Raytheon to improve satellite communication


February 10, 2012

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. Raytheon engineers released a software upgrade that will triple the satellite capacity for AN/ARC-231 airborne radio terminals at no charge to the end-user. The enhancement part of an Integrated Waveform (IW) software upgrade that follows field tests hosted by Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) officials.

Before the upgrade, this type of radio communications was limited in capacity, was caused communication delays in the field. The military’s prior acceptance of the Phase 1 IW upgrade for its ARC-231 radios enabled Raytheon engineers to integrate this Satellite Communication (SATCOM) enhancement, which is available to all Army Aviation aircraft and various Air Force aircraft.

The software enhancement is also backward compatible to cut down on changes to existing equipment installations.

The current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite system is near the end of its lifecycle. To bridge the gap between the current system and the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite constellation DISA experts worked with Raytheon and other radio suppliers to develop and rapidly field IW as the UHF SATCOM solution.

The ARC-231 radio was used in many DISA field operational test events. These testing events and regression testing conducted by the Joint Interoperability Test Command, the ARC-231 radio wa approved through the Joint Chiefs of Staff Office for the IW software fielding within the Department of Defense. Raytheon engineers have since integrated the upgrade into its current radio.

New radios and more than 5,000 currently fielded ARC-231 radios can get the IW enhancement via a software upgrade that can be implemented in the field. The upgrade gives ARC-231 SATCOM users an increase of about several hundred networks.

Other improvements include: improved link margin, improved voice quality, and a more simple setup procedure for ARC-231 operators.


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