SINCGARS

From Academic Kids

Missing image
SINCGARS.hq.usmc.mil.jpg
U.S. marine Corps photo.

SINCGARS stands for "Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System." It provides U.S. and allied military commanders with a reliable, secure, easily maintained Combat Net Radio (CNR) that handles voice and data. Vehicle-mount, backpack, airborne, and now handheld form factors are available.

SINCGARS uses 25 kHz channels in the VHF military radio band, from 30 to 88 MHz. It has both single-frequency and frequency hopping modes. The frequency-hopping mode has a slow hop rate (on the order of 100 Hz), which is well within the ECM capabilities of modern follow-on jammers, so it no longer provides anti-jam security against technologically advanced adversaries.

To operate in frequency hop mode, a SINCGARS radio must be loaded with a transmission security key (TSK) and accurate time of day. The time of day is usually supplied from a Global Positioning System receiver. SINCGARS users maintain communications security (COMSEC) through the VINSON family of encryption devices. Early SINCGARS radios required an external encryptor such as the KY-57; modern versions have embedded COMSEC. Secure audio transmitted by SINCGARS radios is digitized and compressed with 16 kbit/s CVSD. A separate traffic encryption key (TEK) is required for encryption. Over the air rekeying (OTAR) is available, however a master key encryption key (KEK) must be manually loaded beforehand. Two radios can be connected together to serve as a communications relay.

The SINCGARS family has mostly replaced the incrementally-improved Vietnam-war-era synthesized single frequency radios (AN/PRC-77 and AN/VRC-12), although it can interoperate with them. An aircraft radio SINCGARS is phasing out the older tactical air-to-ground radios (AN/ARC-114 and AN/ARC-131). Over 250,000 SINCGARS radios have been procured. There have been several system improvement programs, including the ICOM version, which has integrated voice encryption and the ASIP version which is less than half the size and weight of the ICOM-SIP version. SINGARS is expected to be replaced starting in 2008 with the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a software-defined radio that will be backwards compatible with SINCGARS, HAVE QUICK and a mind-numbing list of other radio systems.

Timeline

  • 11/1983 ITT wins the contract for the first type of radio, for ground troops.
  • 5/1985, ITT wins the contract for the airborne SINCGARS.
  • 7/1988 General Dynamics wins a second-source contract for the ground radio.
  • 4/1989 ITT reaches "Milestone IIIB": full-rate production.
  • 12/1990 1st Division is equipped.
  • 12/1991 General Dynamics wins the "Option 1 Award" for the ground radio.
  • 3/1992 ITT wins a "Ground and Airborne" award.
  • 8/1993 General Dynamics achieves full rate production.
  • 4/1994 ITT and General Dynamics compete for the ground radio.
  • 5/1994 ITT wins a sole-source contract for the airborne radio.

Unit Replacement Cost: $6,500.


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