AUSA 2014: Ultra Electronics TCS Unveils HCLOS Radio

Publication: International Defence Review
Author: Giles Ebbutt, Washington DC
Country: Canada

Montreal-based Ultra Electronics TCS launched a new variant of its ORION High Capacity Line of Sight (HCLOS) radio at the Association of the US Army (AUSA) annual meeting in Washington, DC, in October.

The Ultra ORION HCLOS radio family. The original three-channel X500-G (GRC-245C) (right) with the new, more compact two-channel X505-G (left). (Ultra Electronics TCS)/1535403


The original ORION X500-G, which was launched at AUSA 2013, is a three-channel radio with an aggregate throughput of up to 1 Gbit/sec, providing two LOS channels and a wireless ISM 2.4/5 GHz or Long Term Evolution (LTE) channel.

The X505-G is a smaller and lighter version of the X500-G, offering two channels with an aggregate throughput of 200 Mbit/sec. One channel can operate in NATO band 3, 3+ or 4 with a selectable width of 5, 10 or 20 MHz, while the second channel provides a local wireless or LTE capability.

The X505-G provides Level 2 AES-256 embedded encryption and can be used with a variety of antennas. It includes a library of more than 50 waveforms.

A graphic illustrating the concept-of-operations for the Ultra ORION HCLOS radios. (Ultra Electronics TCS)/1535404


The new radio has been conceived as a lightweight and simple device to extend the LOS network to lower tactical levels. One channel can be used for point-to-multipoint communications or in a mesh network, extending the network provided by the X500-G. The other can be used to link several X505-Gs together to provide wireless "bubbles" around specific locations or LTE communications for individual personal devices. This could be of particular use in forward command posts, or in maritime boarding operations where an X505-G could be installed in a deployed small platform to maintain a link with a mother ship or base, while providing the communications hub for its embarked team. It could also be used as an airborne link.

The US Army awarded a contract for the ORION X500-G, which is known as the GRC-245C in US service, in September 2013 as part of the Warfighter Information Net - Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 1 upgrade. Since then further contracts have been awarded by a European NATO nation and another unspecifed customer.

GRC-245C being set up for testing during NIE 14.2 in early 2014. The radio is the ribbed box behind the directional antenna dish. (Ultra Electronics TCS)/1535405


The radio was included in the US Army Network Integration Evaluation event in early 2014 (NIE 14.2), when it was used as part of the proof-of-concept for the 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion's use of WIN-T. Apart from establishing point-topoint links over ranges up to 30 km, the radios were also used to establish simultaneous point-to-point and point-tomultipoint links on separate channels with the two channels bridged together.

Paul Zweers, Ultra Electronics TCS vice-president, Global Sales Marketing and Strategy, told IHS Jane's that the new ORION X505-G "provides an important additional capability to the high-capacity network, particularly for those deployed at the tactical edge".

At AUSA, Ultra Electronics TCS also revealed a new software-defined mesh waveform, the Universal Networking Waveform (UNW). This uses Ultra's Tactical multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) Engine (TME), claimed to be a unique implementation of MIMO techniques providing a very fast adaptive and robust NLOS mesh waveform, which can be used at all levels.


Copyright © IHS 2014. All rights reserved. IHS Jane’s International Defence Review Reproduced with permission.

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