The US Army has selected Thales Defense and Security and L3Harris Technologies for the modernization of its ageing Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) combat-net radios.
The two companies will compete for each order of the $6.1 billion hybrid contract that will see the SINCGARS radios to align them with the National Security Agency crypto modernization requirements.
According to a US Army contract announcement, the effort is expected to be completed by March 2032.
SINCGARS has been in service for over three decades and has provided US soldiers with a secure method for voice and data communication.
The service announced the radio modernization contraction after releasing a request for information in 2020 to evaluate new radio solution or upgrades to SINCGARS. The RFI noted that upgrades to SINCGARS would have to include new frequency hopping capabilities and cryptographic enhancements for secure communications.
SINCGARS is integrated in ground and aviation platforms and the new waveform will include frequency hopping capabilities for use in mounted vehicle radios and the portable manpack radio to securely transmit data within contested environments.
The SINCGARS upgrade is part of the service’s efforts to get all of the radios within a tactical network to be “as effective as smartphones.” This is one of the Army’s six modernization priorities, along with long-range precision fires, next generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, air and missile defense and soldier lethality.