The Army is finally making some progress in supplying its combat forces with the kind of software-defined radios that can support robust connectivity even in adverse circumstances. On the one hand, it is sticking with the part of the long-running Joint Tactical Radio System program that seems to work, the handheld and manpack radios to be used by dismounted troops. On the other hand, it is starting over in its search for a more capable vehicular radio, seeking off-the-shelf systems that can host secure wideband waveforms. Several teams are offering vehicle radios with the requisite combination of performance features and affordability to greatly bolster current connectivity across the force, most notably BAE Systems — the only company that was a player on all of the JTRS radios designed for use by Army helicopters, ground vehicles and foot soldiers. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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