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The US Marine Corps’ radio systems are getting smaller, lighter and more capable. The warriors will be equipped with multichannel radio systems that simultaneously monitor two radio networks. The new capability will enhance the warriors’ situational awareness and increase the speed of execution on the battlefield,

The multichannel radios integrate the capability of two legacy radio systems into a single form factor.  Capt. Shawn Avery, project officer for Multichannel Radio Family of Systems at Marine Corps Systems Command said: “Before, we were able to operate on one radio network at time, but now a Marine can operate on two radio networks simultaneously—increasing their access to information and enhancing their overall situational awareness.”

Avery added: “By being able to leverage different parts of the RF spectrum simultaneously—whether we’re in a permissive environment or not—we’ll enhance connectivity in difficult environments, increase survivability and provide a level of network interoperability not previously available.”

Another technology that will be fielded is a handheld multichannel radio. Both the handheld and man-packable systems will be capable of interfacing with a vehicular integration kit and can be mounted onto any military vehicle, such as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

Multichannel radios lighten the load for warfighter. A goal for the Corps when acquiring new capabilities is to reduce the amount of weight the warfighter carries. The multichannel radios will lighten the load for Marines by encompassing two radios in one system, allowing a unit to haul a multichannel system rather than two individual radios, according to

Acquiring multichannel radio systems comes at an important time. A mandate by the National Security Agency requires that all radios not compliant with cryptographic modernization standards be replaced by 2024. Aging radios will be replaced with newer, COMSEC-compliant devices in the next five years. The introduction of the multichannel radio system is a significant step toward meeting the NSA’s mandate.