Newest Handheld Leader Radios Get Tested by Elite Army Airborne Forces

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Source: Mr. Nicholas Robertson, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Visual Information Specialist,
Source: Mr. Nicholas Robertson, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Visual Information Specialist,

March 1, 2021 | Originally published by U.S. Army on February 23, 2021

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina – Airborne Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 82nd Airborne Division, completed almost two weeks testing the Army’s newest small leader radio (LR) packages.

“Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division demonstrated tactical communications at its finest during the initial operational test,” said Maj. Brian Ramirez, Leader Radio (LR) Test Officer with the Fort Hood-based U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Mission Command Test Directorate (MCTD).

The Handheld, Manpack, and Small (HMS) Form Fit/Tactical Radio variants are two-channel handhelds, used at the company and platoon levels by squad and team leaders to talk to each other and to aircraft to improve battlefield situational awareness.

Ramirez said the LR system is designed as an interoperable family of advanced software-reprogrammable, dual-channel, net-centric reliable communications radio sets.

The Generation 2 Manpack (MP) Radio is a two-channel, software-defined, multi-waveform, General Purpose User (GPU) radio designed to support mounted and dismounted operations.

Explaining the two systems in non-technical, everyday terms, Ramirez said, “This initial operational test of radio capabilities gave the Army the opportunity to demonstrate the current and future of tactical communications.”

The HMS MP will be fielded primarily to Brigade Combat Team (BCT) battalions, companies, and platoons.

The GEN2 MP is deployed in three configurations:  a Tactical Operations Center (TOC) kit for command posts; mounted configurations integrated into the Army’s tactical and combat platforms; and a rucksack-held configuration to support Army dismounted operations.

Ramirez said operational testing of the radios is no different than an improved tank or new weapon system.

“These radio systems are subjected to weather, terrain, and the daily regimen of light infantrymen in an effort to replicate the actual operational environment to which they will be subjected if selected,” said Ramirez.

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