New Radio System Enables Marines to Simultaneously Monitor Multiple Networks

New Radio System Enables Marines to Simultaneously Monitor Multiple Networks

The Marine Corps’ radio systems are getting smaller, lighter and more capable.

The Corps plans to employ multichannel radio systems that enable Marines to simultaneously monitor two radio networks. The capability will enhance situational awareness and increase the speed of execution on the battlefield.

The system’s multichannel functionality is the first of its kind in the Marine Corps.

“The multichannel radios integrate the capability of two legacy radio systems into a single form factor,” said Capt. Shawn Avery, project officer for Multichannel Radio Family of Systems at Marine Corps Systems Command. “Before, we were able to operate on one radio network at time, but now a Marine can operate on two radio networks simultaneously—increasing their access to information and enhancing their overall situational awareness.”

Marines have primarily used the AN/PRC-117G, a portable, single-channel radio that was fielded in 2011. The AN/PRC-158—a version of the multichannel radio— is a man-packable configuration that has twice the amount of capability and operates in a larger radio frequency spectrum.

“Multiple channels increase our resiliency,” said Avery. “By being able to leverage different parts of the RF spectrum simultaneously—whether we’re in a permissive environment or not—we’ll enhance connectivity in difficult environments, increase survivability and provide a level of network interoperability not previously available. These are factors that contribute to mission accomplishment.”

The Corps also plans to field a handheld multichannel radio. Both the handheld and man-packable systems will be capable of interfacing with a vehicular integration kit and can be mounted onto any military vehicle, such as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

Multichannel radios lighten the load for warfighter

A goal for the Corps when acquiring new capabilities is to reduce the amount of weight the warfighter carries. The multichannel radios will lighten the load for Marines by encompassing two radios in one system, allowing a unit to haul a multichannel system rather than two individual radios.

“The multichannel radio is about the same weight as the system that it is replacing—the AN/PRC-117G,” said Avery. “However, because it can accomplish the workload of two radios, this newer system actually decreases the equipment footprint at the unit level, making us lighter and faster.”

Acquiring multichannel radio systems comes at an important time. A mandate by the National Security Agency requires that all radios not compliant with cryptographic modernization standards be replaced by 2024. MCSC’s Command Element Systems is tasked with replacing aging radios with newer, COMSEC-compliant devices in the next five years.

In addition to supporting the warfighter on the battlefield, the introduction of the multichannel radio system is a significant step toward meeting the NSA’s mandate.

“We have a roadmap to get these radios replaced with a more modern capability,” said Lt. Col. Jeffery Decker, MCSC’s team lead for Ground Radios.

The Corps is seeking a Field User Evaluation of the AN/PRC-158 by the fourth quarter of 2019 and anticipating a procurement decision in 2020. The capability is slated to be fielded by operating forces before 2021.

“We have a Herculean task in replacing these older systems by 2024,” said Decker. “But this is a great time to be in ground radios because our mission is clear.”

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  • Nick 0311/8531

    ” Eenie meenie miny mo, can you hear my radio? Fee fi fo fum load and clear with a little hum”as heard one night up on the BS freq. sometome in 68-69 My call sign on the late night BS was “Keystone Farmer”(While at “Liberty Bridge Phu-Loc-6) Nick o311/8531

  • Steve Logan

    Naval gunfire teams just prior to late 1964 were still carrying the AN/GRC-9 radio sets. This radio was composed of two parts, a transmitter and a receiver in a case. When tuning the radio required an interpolation of the frequency in order to load the antenna. Also, power was supplied by a hand cranked generator GN-58 when transmitting And a battery for standby power for reception. Man portable by 3 people. I was in Naval Gunfire section HQs.Btry, 2/10, 1962-64; 1/12, 1964-65.


    2531, 73-77.
    Reducing the weight? Gee, what a concept!
    Humped a 77-ky-38 all over Pendleton, Pahakaloa, Kahoolave, and Kahuku. Chasing after jock second Lieutenants, and also humping the basic field pack and deuce gear.
    When we were assigned to Fac teams, I truly loved the Prc-75 for it’s walkie-talkie size. The 47 was a bitch to hump, but great in a jeep.

  • Ron

    I humped around with the PRC-25 in Vietnam back in 1967. What a pain. The one thing we would do, is to call in for a radio check. If you would call in with something like, “Florida vacation, radio check, over” we would get something back like “I hear you, 5 by 5” or “I hear you loud and clear”. However, if we would call in, “Florida vacation, FOR a radio check”. Both you and the guy on the other end would switch to another frequency and shoot the s***. You did what you had to do to get through those monsoon rainy nights.

  • Bill 0331

    Hey Cpl Hornsey Did you have to steal that m-16 from an Army guy? My A-gunner never knew from one day to the next if his 16 would work or not. I think he had at least 3 different issue while I knew him. Give me my 60 any day ! Bill 0331 E-2/1 68-69

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