28 August 2007
The AN/PRC-148 MBITR is a software-defined handheld radio providing unprecedented interoperability and secure communications with military and commercial radio systems. First fielded in 2000, the MBITR replaced over 60 pounds of multiple radios with a single handheld radio weighing less than two pounds and changed the way warfighters throughout the world do their jobs. The smallest, lightest, and most widely-fielded tactical handheld radio covering the 30-512 MHz frequency range, MBITRs serve the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Federal agencies, and allied and coalition forces globally with extensive use in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
In a ceremony held on July 30, 2007, commemorating this milestone event, Thales Communications CEO Mitch Herbets presented the 100,000th MBITR to Steven Kundrat, Program Executive Officer for Intelligence and Information Systems, Center for Acquisition and Logistics, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). USSOCOM sponsored the U.S. Government program of record under which the MBITR was developed.
Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), who serves on the Armed Services, Science and Technology, and Small Business Committees, gave the keynote speech at the July 30 event, which was held at Thales Communications' headquarters facilities. Congressman Bartlett said he is proud of the role that he played during the 1990s to support the development of the MBITR. "As a scientist and engineer, I recognized its significance and was pleased to bring Thales' technological advance in communications to the attention of Special Operations Command. After their review and testing, I supported Special Operations Command's pursuit of this new technology with a shared cost financing package based on the successful model established by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. When Special Operations Command advised me that fielding the MBITR was a priority, I worked to support funding for its procurement and acquisition. As word of MBITR's value spread, I supported other Service's procurement requests. The nearly universal accolades from Special Forces and other warfighters who considered the MBITR vital to the successful overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan are the most important testaments to its value and success. That is what makes this milestone of the 100,000th model rolling off the assembly line so gratifying."
Congressman Albert Wynn (D-MD), who is also a strong supporter of Thales, said, "I am very pleased to congratulate Thales on the delivery of its 100,000th Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio. MBITR radios help our forces securely communicate and coordinate in the field, a critical factor in 21st Century warfighting. The ability to seamlessly integrate next-generation JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) technology will provide for future needs, while maintaining compatibility with current systems. MBITR radios provide an essential communications option for our Nation's military services, and I am proud to join in applauding Thales Communications for its outstanding success."
An advanced version of the AN/PRC-148 MBITR has been designed to meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Defense JTRS initiative. The AN/PRC-148 JTRS Enhanced MBITR, or JEM, is currently serving the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army. Through a recent contract award by the JTRS Joint Program Executive Office, the JEM is available for immediate fielding to all branches of the U.S. Military. The AN/PRC-148 JEM, developed as an engineering upgrade to the proven AN/PRC-148 MBITR, transforms Thales proven product into the next generation supporting current and future interoperability through software upgrades.
The AN/PRC-148 MBITR and AN/PRC-148 JEM are manufactured at Thales Communications' headquarters in Clarksburg, Md. Thales Communications has four Maryland locations as well as in-theater maintenance and repair depots serving U.S. and coalition forces in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The AN/PRC-148 MBITR and the AN/PRC-148 JEM are part of a complete system solution serving the warfighter that includes the handheld radio; a Vehicle Adapter with a unique, cable-free, rapid radio dismount capability; dual radio AN/VRC-111 Vehicle Adapter Amplifier with SINCGARS interface tray; Base Station for fixed command center operations; Tactical Repeater for range extension; compact, rugged Man Portable System for dismounted operations requiring higher power output; and a complete line of accessories including the new Remote Control Unit with GPS.
Thales Communications, Inc. (www.thalescomminc.com), is a leader in the development of battle-proven, software-defined, radio equipment and solutions. The company provides critical communication capabilities for use in size-, weight-, and power-constrained environments in the Tactical, Homeland Security, and Naval/Maritime domains throughout the globe. A U.S. proxy company (100% American), Thales Communications is part of the Thales Group of companies (www.thalesgroup.com), a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing defense, aerospace, and security markets worldwide. The Group's civil and military businesses develop a base of technologies to serve a single objective: the security of people, property, and nations. The Group employs 68,000 people in 50 countries with forecast 2007 revenues in excess of $15.8 billion.