Friday, February 4, 2011

IED blow up your vehicle? No problem with the Thales MSCCS communications system

Posted by John Keller

It's reasonable to assume that your communications might become a problem if a roadside bomb blows up your vehicle underneath you. Not so with the Mounted Soldier Cordless Communications System (MSCCS) from Thales Communications Inc. in Clarksburg, Md.

Thales officials demonstrated how the MSCCS military communications system can help crews of military vehicles take a lickin', and keep on tickin' if they encounter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in combat zones. Thales made the demonstration in the company's booth at the recent AFCEA West conference in San Diego.

The Thales MSCCS is designed as a secure rugged intercom system for combat vehicles. The system can transform quickly into a secure tactical radio system, however, if an IED destroys its vehicle and forces the vehicle crew to flee for their lives. Andrew Bostock, the Thales Communications director of business development, put the system through its paces at AFCEA West, as you can see in the video below.

The Thales MSCCS is different from other armored vehicle intercom systems, in that it helps crews communicate wirelessly if they must leave their vehicles -- even if they must leave the vehicle quickly after an unpleasant encounter with an IED. Other kinds of vehicle intercoms, Bostock explained, must be tethered to the vehicle by a cable. That might not be an option if the vehicle is a burning, explosive wreck.

The MSCCS integrates the Thales AN/PRC-148 joint tactical radio system (JTRS) enhanced multiband inter/intra team radio -- otherwise known as JEM -- into the vehicle intercom through an interface box and smart adapter cable. If something breaks the tethered connection, the JEM radio maintains communications with the vehicle intercom, enabling crew members to maintain communications with one another seamlessly.

If the vehicle and its intercom are disabled or destroyed -- by something like an IED explosion -- the surviving crew members change the channel to create a type-1 tactical radio, which they can use to call for help, medical assistance, and to keep in touch with one another.

That type of capability could come in handy in a lot of battlefield conditions.

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