SINCGARS (Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System) is a Combat Net Radio (CNR) currently used by U.S. and allied military forces. The radios, which handle voice and data communications, are designed to be reliable, secure and easily maintained. Vehicle-mount, backpack, airborne, and handheld form factors are available.
SINCGARS uses 25 kHz channels in the VHF FM band, from 30 to 87.975 MHz. It has single-frequency and frequency hopping modes. The frequency-hopping mode has a slow hop rate (on the order of 100 Hz), which is well within the ECM capabilities of modern follow-on jammers, so it no longer provides anti-jam security against technologically advanced adversaries.
To operate in frequency hop mode, a SINCGARS radio requires a transmission security key (TSK), a pregenerated frequency list (Hopset), and accurate time of day. Keys and Hopsets are loaded using a fill device. The time of day is usually supplied from a Global Positioning System receiver. SINCGARS users maintain communications security (COMSEC) through VINSON encryption technology. Early SINCGARS radios required an external encryptor such as the KY-57; modern versions have embedded COMSEC. Secure audio transmitted by SINCGARS radios is digitized and compressed with 16 Kbit/s CVSD. A separate traffic encryption key (TEK) is required for encryption. Over the air rekeying (OTAR) is available, however a master key encryption key (KEK) must be manually loaded beforehand. Two radios can be connected together to serve as a communications relay.
The SINCGARS family has mostly replaced the Vietnam-war-era synthesized single frequency radios (AN/PRC-77 and AN/VRC-12), although it can work with them. An aircraft radio SINCGARS is phasing out the older tactical air-to-ground radios (AN/ARC-114 and AN/ARC-131).
Over 250,000 SINCGARS radios have been purchased. There have been several system improvement programs, including the ICOM version, which has integrated voice encryption, and the ASIP version, which is less than half the size and weight of the ICOM-SIP version. In 1992, the U.S. Air Force awarded a contract to replace the AN/ARC-188 for communications between Air Force aircraft and Army units. SINCGARS is expected to be replaced starting in 2008 with the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a software-defined radio that will work with SINCGARS, HAVE QUICK and other existing radios.
Unit Replacement Cost: $6,500.
Army, ITT celebrate SINCGARS milestone, look to the future. (Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System)
Jun 03, 1996; Army and ITT officials last Thursday celebrated the company's delivery of the 100,000th Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio...
DoD gives in, approves Army's FY '97 SINCGARS request.(Pentagon to finance Army's Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System program)
Dec 07, 1995; The Army's assertion that a nearly $400 million cut proposed by DoD for the services's primary tactical radio program will rob...
Army, OSD battle over SINCGARS money in future budgets.(Office of the Secretary of Defense, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System)
Nov 28, 1995; The Army is scrambling to set the record straight on its procurement plans for the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio...