L3Harris Technology
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L3Harris to Add Manpacks to MH-47 and MH-60 Wings

Jan. 5, 2022
L3Harris has been contracted by SOC to integrate its SDR-based FALCON III AN/PRC-160 HF/VHF radios in “secret” MH-47 and MH-60 aircraft.

The MH-47 aircraft are unique to the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations force, with many special features. They are capable of aerial refueling, an assortment of night-vision devices, and carry a fast rope rappelling system to get into and out of danger quickly. Soon they will also be equipped with secure AN/PRC-160 manpack radios from L3Harris Technologies Inc., thanks to a better than $45 million contract from Special Operations Command (SOC) serving both the MH-47 and MH-60 aircraft. The MH-47 are SOA long-distance, heavy-lift helicopters for overt and covert missions, while the MH-60 Jayhawk is a medium-range, search-and-rescue aircraft manufactured by Sikorsky with advanced navigation equipment for environmental protection, military, and law-enforcement use.

The FALCON III AN/PRC-160(V) wideband HF/VHF tactical radio system (see the figure) has a software-defined radio (SDR) architecture that allows encryption updates to maintain high security. The radio was developed for HF and VHF beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications in the absence of satellite communications (satcom) technology. The radio delivers 20 W transmit power at HF and 10 W transmit power at VHF. It can transmit data in bandwidths from 3 to 24 kHz and at data rates to 120 kb/s. It meets all National Security Agency (NSA) crypto-modernization standards for security. Most of the work to integrate the radios in the MH-47 and MH-60 aircraft will be performed in Rochester, NY.

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