These New Black Ops Radios Are Better Than Some Cell Phones

There is no internet connectivity or cell service in the remote locations frequented by American Special Forces, so they bring their own. Using a new generation of squad-based radio technology known as wideband tactical communications networks, our secret forces can call, text, or video conference from anywhere in the world.

US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) recently announced that it has awarded an $18 million contract to Harris Corp for its next-gen Falcon III manpack (which generate and transmit the signal) and handheld tactical radios. These radio systems tap into SOCOM's wideband tactical communications network, which allows units in the field to exchange reconnaissance and tactical information over voice, video, or data feeds while providing commanders back at base with mission-critical updates as they happen.

What's more, the radio's proprietary Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) can produce 10 times the bandwidth of the Type-1 radios currently in the field. And unlike older wave forms—VHF/UHF, SATCOM, or SINCGARS for example—this network waveform can distribute data signals with information assurance protection and automatic routing across complex terrain. What's more, these radios work with not only the older legacy transmission standards, but can also be used to bridge the networks of military and civilian radio systems in the event of a national disaster where local, state, and federal agencies all need to coordinate.

And there is no shortage of the ways that information can be exchanged between units: video and image transmission, live chatting, situational awareness and mapping data, text messages, email—it can even extend connectivity to mobile devices. [Harris via Military Aerospace]