AN/PRC-148 (JEM) – JTRS Enhanced Multi-Band Inter/Intra Team Radio

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The AN/PRC-148 JTRS Enhanced MBITR, (JEM), is based on the  AN/PRC-148 MBITR developed by Thales Communications. Thales Communications is the prime contractor for the JTRS JEM Program (formerly Cluster 2).

JEM Operating Environment is certified Software Communications Architecture SCA 2.2 compliant. SCA is the baseline architecture for future JTRS based software-defined radios. The new radio is also undergoing certification for Type 1 encryption through the Top Secret level. As an SCA-compliant platform, JEM supports new JTRS waveforms, such as high-capacity data, networking, and new encryption algorithms. The JEM also provides a cost-effective path to JTRS since all MBITR system elements, accessories, and ancillaries can be used with the JEM. The radio weighs about 860 gram. It is available in waterproof variants immersible at depths of up to 20 meters. To further support special operations, the radio supports Low Probability of Intercept / detects (LPI/LPD) operating modes.

Users can program up to 256 preset AM or FM channels, selected over a frequency range between 30 and 512 MHz, at 5 – 6.25 KHz steps. It also supports 12.5KHz AM narrow-band analog channel. The radio supports both voice and data. The radio can connect to any digital device supporting USB connection. It can interface with HAVE QUICK I/II, SINCGARS ESIP radios at single channel and frequency hopping, ANDVT. The radio supports ad-hoc relay, by employing retransmission between two handheld radios, utilizing special filters to cancel acoustic feedback. The tactical advantages of such capabilities are the elimination of use of specific radios for different applications (such as tactical com [VHF/FM] and intra-squad and ground-to-air (UHF/AM). Furthermore, the new radios will enable easier and better inter-service communication.

In September 2006 Thales Communications Corp. received a first order for its handheld JTRS compatible radio known as JEM. Under the US$7.6million contract Thales will supply 1675 radio sets to the US Air Force, The initial procurement provides immediate relief to the Air Force warfighters in Afghanistan and Iraq who are currently borrowing radios from the Army to communicate with U.S. soldiers. Additional 10,000 sets will be bought next year. The contract marks the first JTRS procurement order. The USAF is planning to spend over 2.9 billion in the JTRS program, which promises to streamline communications across different systems. Other JTRS radios are expected to be fielded within five years. The new radios will be used by Air Force Special Operations Command operators, Security Forces and Civil Engineers as well as within Air Operations Centers, Distributed Common Ground System facilities and other command and control centers.