Thales Communications Inc. said this week the Army has awarded the second Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for the AN/PRC-154 Rifleman Radios, part of the Joint Tactical Radio System Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form Fit (JTRS HMS) program.

General Dynamics [GD] C4 Systems is the prime contractor for the JTRS HMS program, and Thales is responsible for producing 50 percent of all LRIP Rifleman Radios.

With this latest award for 13,000 radios and associated ancillaries, the Army has procured more than 19,000 AN/PRC-154 Rifleman Radios. 

Jointly developed and manufactured by Thales and General Dynamics, the Rifleman Radio is a lightweight, body worn radio that transmits voice and data simultaneously using the Soldier Radio Waveform. It brings secure (Type 2) squad-level communications to the soldier at the tactical edge of the battlefield network. The radio allows self-forming, ad hoc, voice and data networks and enables any leader at the tactical level to track individual soldier position location information, giving dismounted soldiers a much-needed situational awareness capability.

The Rifleman Radio is a core component of the Army’s Capability Set 13, which provides network components, associated equipment, and software that will, for the first time, deliver integrated voice and data capabilities to soldiers at the tactical edge.

In January, the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan completed an operational assessment of the Rifleman Radio. In its first combat use, the radio improved mission effectiveness through enhanced networked communications and situational awareness.

During March through May, the Army’s 2nd Brigade 1st Armored Div., used the Rifleman Radio in Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 12.21. The radio performed extremely well in an operational environment, delivering a robust voice and data network to the tactical edge of the battlefield.

“The Rifleman Radio has received a tremendously positive response from the soldiers,” said Michael Sheehan, president and CEO of Thales Communications Inc. “Thales is proud to play a role in the Army’s brigade modernization program by arming our nation’s warfighters with the smallest, lightest, and most power-efficient equipment possible.”

As with previous orders, Thales and General Dynamics will manufacture and deliver equal quantities of Rifleman Radios, ensuring there are two qualified sources and that the radio remains cost competitive before transition to competitive Full-Rate Production. Thales’s Rifleman Radios are manufactured at the company’s Clarksburg, Md., facilities.