UK MoD selects L3Harris SDR with Special Forces among likely users

by Andrew White

A US Army ranger equipped with L3Harris’s AN / PRC-163. (US Army Special Operations Command)

The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) will procure an undisclosed number of Falcon IV AN / PRC-163 software defined radios (SDRs) from L3Harris Technologies, the company announced on 7 March.

L3Harris revealed it would be providing the handheld, multichannel AN / PRC-163 to the MoD, describing how the SDR will promote interoperability with “US and NATO allies during coalition operations”.

According to defense sources, organizations expected to benefit from the procurement include UK Special Forces (UKSF).

A spokesperson for the MoD was unable to comment on whether the AN / PRC-163 would be supplied to UKSF, explaining to
“We continue to invest in the most innovative capabilities to ensure our armed forces are equipped with the best battle-winning technologies to operate in the harshest environments and meet the threats of the future.”

Contract value, duration, and total number of SDRs to be delivered to the MoD are yet to be disclosed.

The MoD’s selection of the SDR follows its procurement of “tens” of AN / PRC-163s in 2020, understood to be part of a UKSF evaluation process ahead of a potentially larger, follow-on purchase, defense sources told

The UK MoD had been seeking a small, lightweight, multiband, multifunction, and multimission tactical radio, capable of maximizing levels in connectivity, even when operating in urban, subterranean, and maritime environments to replace a variety of legacy radios provided by L3Harris and Thales .

Operating across 30–512 MHz, 225–450 MHz, and 1,300–2,600 MHz frequency bands, the AN / PRC-163 provides end-users with line-of-sight, beyond-line-of-sight, and mobile ad hoc network (MANET) communications. Power output ranges between 250 mW and 5W, and 10W in satcom mode.

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The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) will procure an undisclosed number of Falcon IV AN / PRC-163 software …