SINCGARS is a family of Very High Frequency (VHF) Frequency Modulated (FM) radio sets designed to meet the Army's tactical communications requirements under the new Army operations doctrine. It is  designed for simple, quick operation using a 16 element keypad for push button tuning.  SINCGARS is capable of short range or long range operation for voice or digital communications.  It can be used for single channel operation or in a jam-resistant, frequency hopping mode which can
be changed as needed.
SINCGARS radio. (Photo source unknown)

SINCGARS is the primary Combat Net Radio (CNR) for the US Army, designed primarily for voice command and control for the infantry, armor, and artillery units. It is a VHF-FM radio system that operates on any or all of the 2,320 frequencies between 30 and 87.975 MHz in 25 kHz increments. SINCGARS employs frequency hopping, as it's primary means of communications against a hostile (jamming) environment. SINCGARS is capable of processing voice, analog and digital data in either the frequency hopping or single channel mode, and will replace the existing AN/PRC-77 and AN/VRC-12 series radios from the Army inventory.

General purpose, user (Operator's) training is conducted on the SINCGARS and the following associated equipment:

     KYK-13 (Electronic Keying Device)
     MX-18290 (ECCM Fill Device)
     KOI-18 (Key Tape Reader)
     KYX-15 (Net Control Device)
     ANCD (Automated Net Control Device)
     RCU (Remote Control Unit)

arc201.gifAn airborne version of the SINCGARS (ARC-201 shown at left) is also in production and is replacing the standard aircraft radios, the AN/ARC-114, AN/ARC-131, and the AN/ARC-186 (FM mode only). The first SINCGARS radio produced was the RT-1439. This radio required an external KY-57 VINSON Communications Security (COMSEC) to encrypt and de-encrypt the messages. Working closely with the National Security Agency (NSA), approval was granted to embed COMSEC within the SINCGARS radio to reduce the load of the manpack user and at the same time reducing the amount of external crypto devices needed for the Army. This subsequent version of SINCGARS radios produced, was the RT-1523. The RT-1523 was termed the Integrated COMSEC (ICOM) radio, and in hindsight, the RT-1439 radio was referred to as the Non-ICOM radio.

To meet the demands of fielding, the Department of the Army (DA) authorized a second source to produce SINCGARS ICOM radios, that are Form, Fit, and Function (F3) interchangeable at the LRU level. Along with a production capability, the second source introduced improvements to the product in terms of Cosite performance, improved battery life and enhanced low speed operation, these enhancements were incorporated back into the initial source product line, and the resultant products produced were the RT-1523A and RT-1523B ICOM radios. In line with the Army's move toward digitization, the user expressed the need to increase their communications functionality and capability. This led to the development of the SINCGARS System Improvement Program (SIP), to which the Tactical Internet is mainly based.

Over and over again, the SINCGARS radio program has continuously evolved to provide the latest in improvements and capabilities to the soldier and strive to meet the Army's objectives for digitization.



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Mar 26/05