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SINCGARS SIP & ASIP Programs

SINCGARS Tactical Radio, Advanced System Improvement Program (ASIP) version with increased performance and reduced weight, half the size of the original SINCGARS.  ITT Industries, Aerospace/Communications Division, 1997
SINCGARS Tactical Radio, Advanced System Improvement Program (ASIP) version with increased performance and reduced weight, half the size of the original SINCGARS. ITT Industries, Aerospace/Communications Division, 1997.

SINCGARS ASIP radio with its battery compartment open. The DSP based electronics are quite small
SINCGARS ASIP radio with its battery compartment open. The DSP based electronics are quite small.

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SINCGARS SIP and ASIP Versions

The SINCGARS (Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System) program spanned several decades during which there were rapid developments in computer hardware and software. The SINCGARS contractors, in cooperation with the procuring agencies, insituted system improvement programs for SINCGARS that resulted in the delivery of performance enhancements, additonal features, reduced weight and size, and other benefits to the military users. These differences are incorporated into the RT-1523C/D (SIP) and RT-1523E (ASIP) radios.

SINCGARS System Improvement Program (SIP)

SINCGARS SIP mounted in M1A2 Abrams tank, with Internet Controller (INC) card
SINCGARS SIP mounted in M1A2 Abrams tank, with Internet Controller (INC) card.

In April 1995, the Army presented a SINCGARS System Improvement Program (SIP) to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, C3I Committee. The SIP included several enhancements:

  • Advanced data capabilities
  • Position locating and reporting (with an external Global Positioning System)
  • Reduced weight
  • Simplified operations
  • Interface to the common user system.

The SINCGARS SIP radio is used with the Tactical Internet (TI) to support the Army program for digitization of the battlefield. The SINCGARS SIP RT is the same physical size as the previous radio, but incorporates advanced capabilities including forward error correction, higher data rates, packet technology, and the Internet Controller (INC). The TI is the network of radios and routers, which provide connectivity across the battlefield. The TI comprises the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS), SINCGARS SIP radios, and the INC router.

SINCGARS ASIP (Advanced SIP)

The second major improvement cycle for SINCGARS was the Advanced SIP (ASIP). The ASIP radio is a new manpack radio that has been adapted from the SINCGARS airborne radio. ASIP radios will replace the AN/PRC-119 SIP radios in the Army units. The ASIP radio incorporates programmable digital signal processing technology and is significantly smaller than the existing radio (top photo on this page). The ASIP radio reduces the weight of a manpack SINCGARS radio from 18 pounds to 7.6 pounds (including the battery), improves reliability, and extends the battery life by incorporating low power technology.

The ASIP radio incorporates a redesigned and more user-friendly, man-machine interface via flat-panel technology. A new feature of the SINCGARS ASIP provides a retransmission capability while operating in the packet data mode and will also employ a new, fast-channel access protocol for improved operations in shared voice or data nets.

SINCGARS SIP and ASIP units are interchangable with previous SINCGARS versions, including the capability to be mounted in older vehicular adapter assemblies. SIP radios can be upgraded to the same features as ASIP radios, and ASIP SINCGARS is backward compatible with the SIP version. The already fielded radios in inventory and new versions of SINCGARS have been fully interoperable.

Description of SINCGARS SIP and ASIP

The following paragraphs are from FM 6-02.72 Tactical Radios.

The SIP increased the communications functionality and capability of the SINCGARS. The SIP radio incorporated features such as an interface to an external precision lightweight global positioning system receiver (PLGR), improved FEC, and packet routing. These improvements, along with the introduction of the Internet controller (INC) card, provided the mechanics for Internet Protocol (IP) routing between radio nets and other communications systems (Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (ELPRS), local area networks (LANs), etc. The introduction of IP routing revolutionized the way data is moved across the battlefield.

The Advanced System Improvement Program (ASIP) radio is a repackaged RT-1523C SIP radio. It is physically one-half the width, and one-third the weight of a full size radio. Along with the INC, the ASIP represents a major leap forward from the SIP’s ability to access and distribute data across the battlefield. Another significant improvement to the radio is its reduction in weight and size over the existing SINCGARS radios. This reduction is mainly attributable to the internal redesign of the radio and to taking advantage of a software-based digital signal processing (DSP) architecture. SINCGARS participated in the Army's Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighter Exercises in which the utilization of the tactical Internet and packet data were deployed for the very first time. Although this deployment proved that the concept of the tactical Internet was achievable, there were many factors that affected the performance of the communication systems. Chiefly among them were the effects of cosite, intranet surfing, voice and data contention, and the amount and frequency of data being placed on the net. To address these deficiencies, the ASIP radio incorporates an enhanced system improvement program (ESIP) waveform. This waveform implements faster synchronization between radios, which reduces the interference between voice and data transmissions, thus reducing voice and data contention problems associated with shared voice and data networks. The ESIP waveform includes optimizations to the algorithms of the noisy channel avoidance (NCA) scheme, the time of day (TOD) tracking scheme, and the end of message (EOM) scheme.

Find More Information on the Internet

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