Electronic Weapons: Battle Tested Stopgaps


February 4, 2006: The U.S. Army continues to test new equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then, for the gear that works, install it throughout the army. The latest example is the ARC-231 aircraft radio. This is an analog/digital/programmable radio that can handle satellite communication as well as digital data. The army has been testing the ARC-231 in helicopters, and it has performed well. This is a stopgap measure, for the Department of Defense is still trying to get the JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) working. JTRS is similar to ARC-231, but designed so that all services can use it, on the ground as well as in the air. JTRS is having development problems, but the troops need digital (for computer stuff) and analog (traditional radio) communications in one box now, and it has to be programmable, in order to handle new applications. The war on terror has given the army a chance to buy new technology, like the ARC-231, try it out in a combat zone, and then go ahead and buy a lot more of the stuff that works.


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