AN/PRC-112 Survival Radio

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeremy Moore of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 5, Jacksonville, FL, using an AN/PRC-112 to call in an HH-60H Seahawk during a survivor extraction exercise, Fallon Naval Air Station, NV, 22 June 2001
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeremy Moore of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 5, Jacksonville, FL, using an AN/PRC-112 to call in an HH-60H Seahawk during a survivor extraction exercise, Fallon Naval Air Station, NV, 22 June 2001.

Today in WW II: 16 Oct 1939 Germans counterattack in the Saar, quickly expelling the French invaders. More 
16 Oct 1940 Selective Service draft registration begins in the United States for approximately 16 million men.
16 Oct 1940 34 ships sunk from Convoy SC-7 and Convoy HX-79 by German submarine Wolf Pack, one of the worst attacks of the war in the Atlantic [16-19 Oct].
16 Oct 1941 Germans and Romanians march into Odessa, following the Soviet evacuation.
16 Oct 1941 Although Stalin remains in Moscow, Soviet government moves east to Kuybyshev [Samara] on the Volga River, where they remain until summer of 1943.
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AN/PRC-112 Survival Radio

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Brian J. Miller, Squadron 14, Atsugi, Japan, attempts to contact search and rescue forces using his AN/PRC-112 radio, Fallon Naval Air Station, NV, 15 February 2000
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Brian J. Miller, Squadron 14, Atsugi, Japan, attempts to contact search and rescue forces using his AN/PRC-112 radio, Fallon Naval Air Station, NV, 15 February 2000.

The small AN/PRC-112 Survival Radio, carried in aircrew survival vests since 1985, enables downed aircrews to be located by aircraft equipped with the AN/ARS-6 Pilot Locating System. It receives short, periodic bursts from the AN/ARS-6 and responds with its own coded reply to allow secure location of aircrews. An AM voice mode allows unsecured communication on guard, on 282.2 megahertz, or on two additional UHF channels. The AN/PRC-112A radio has upgraded voice communication security that scrambles voice communication for greater security. Both the AN/PRC-112 and -112A permit voice contact with nearby aircrews if aircraft radios are damaged on impact. The AN/PRC-112C is the AN/PRC-112 radio/transponder with improved receiver sensitivity and other small changes. The PRC-112 is an improved replacement for the AN/PRC-90 Survival Radio.

The NSNs for the AN/PRC-112 series are:

  • AN/PRC-112: NSN 5820-01-279-5450
  • AN/PRC-112A: NSN 5820-01-280-2117
  • AN/PRC-112B: NSN 5820-01-417-8752
  • AN/PRC-112C: NSN 5820-01-458-6108
  • AN/PRC-112D: NSN 5820-01-500-1535

Manuals for the AN/PRC-112 Survival Radio will be numbered TM11-5820-1037-xx where the xx represents the maintenance level. The battery is BA-5112/U (Battery, Non-rechargeable, NSN 6135-01-235-4168).

The basic AN/PRC-112 operates only in line-of-sight conditions and lacks geo-positioning information, making planning missions to recover downed pilots very difficult. Not only does the AN/PRC-112 have limited capability and only moderate reliability, but many of its parts became obsolete over its two decades of service.

Upgrade Programs for the AN/PRC-112

Since the tri-service Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) successor to the AN/PRC-112C was delayed, the Army developed a modernization program. From 2000-2006, existing AN/PRC-112C radios were retrofitted with commercial circuitry and batteries at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania to create the AN/PRC-112D, a more reliable package with GPS, decreased power consumption and commercial AA batteries. The conversion combines beacon, radio, and transponder capabilities, in addition to new erase and sleep-mode features and three-color LED battery status indicator with a built-in tester. The AN/PRC-112D will fill the gap between CSEL and the older version radios.

In 2003, a division of General Dynamics (GD) was awarded a contract by the Air Force to upgrade AN/PRC-112 or AN/PRC-112C radios with GPS position location and encrypted two-way messaging. The resulting unit was designated the AN/PRC-112B1 (also called the Hook-112). GD sells an upgraded unit as the AN/PRC-112G, a software-defined radio that began shipping in December 2002, but which has not been adopted by the U.S. military.

According to the General Dynamics website, about 25,000 AN/PRC-112 radios were produced and delivered to users in all of the major branches of the U.S. military as well as 11 NATO countries and 10 other nations. Of those, GD upgraded almost 8,200 to date to the AN/PRC-112B1 version. Added to 1,000 AN/PRC-112B radios and over 5,900 AN/PRC-112G radios sold, the number of worldwide GPS-enabled radios totals over 14,500 (as of May 2005) and continues to grow.

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