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 FULLERTON, Calif., June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The first overseas operational use of the U.S. Army's new battlefield digital communications system has been completed with the 24th Infantry Division, Mechanized, in a joint exercise with Kuwaiti forces called Intrinsic Action.
 The Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS), under production for the Army by Hughes Aircraft Co., provided reliable and secure digital communications for the more than 1,600 troops taking part in the maneuvers which covered more than 3,000 square kilometers in Kuwait.
 Hughes developed the EPLRS communications system for the U.S. Army to provide data distribution and command and control for all five Army Battlefield Functional Areas, including maneuver, air defense, fire support, intelligence/electronic warfare and combat service support.
 The U.S. Army awarded Hughes in late May a $32 million production option for 515 EPLRS radio sets. This latest option brings the low- rate EPLRS production value to Hughes to $268 million.
 EPLRS radios are carried on soldiers' backs and mounted in ground vehicles and aircraft to provide direct user-to-user data communications, identification and position and navigation services. Commanders track and control the units in a net control station or observe situation awareness on standard lightweight computer units.
 Various after-action comments reported that the EPLRS system improved commanders' command and control on the move, was a real logistics multiplier, increased overall situational awareness, reduced potential fratricide incidents and provided position information and relative navigation guidance down to the individual user, according to Wayne Doughty, the Hughes EPLRS program manager.
 "From what we've been told, EPLRS not only met but exceeded expectations for capability and performance," said Doughty.
 During the five-week exercise, EPLRS radios were temporarily installed on a variety of ground vehicles including M1A1 tanks, M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M577 Command Vehicles, M998 High Mobile Maneuver Wheeled Vehicles, as well as several different types of logistical support vehicles.
 Later in the deployment, EPLRS radios were installed on two UH-60 Blackhawk Medevac helicopters, several Kuwaiti armored troop vehicles and in observer/controller vehicles.
 An EPLRS radio was also installed at the Army Training and Support Kuwait emergency operations center. This provided the center commander with the unique capability to continuously monitor the locations of the maneuver forces as well as have secure, digital communications with the Task Force commander.
 "The feedback gotten from those who used the system during the exercise was very positive," said Doughty. "One of the most significant comments we got was for the potential reduction of fratricide because the system distributes the exact location of all EPLRS-equipped units throughout the network to units not only on the ground, but also in the air."
 He said other comments included:
 -- "EPLRS has significantly reduced voice communication. Our effectiveness is increased and it reduces the possibility of enemy direction finding."
 -- "When it comes to navigating around the desert, EPLRS is preferred over the Global Positioning System. EPLRS provides accurate location and provides linkup with other units on the move."
 -- "EPLRS zones automatically warned users when they entered minefields or other danger areas and then provided guidance out of the zone."
 -- "EPLRS was very effectively used in the Medevac aircraft. A pilot using only the EPLRS readout said he could fly (with his cockpit) blacked out. That's as clean a bill of health as you can get from an aviator."
 -- "EPLRS is a real logistics multiplier ... EPLRS has a tremendous impact in terms of time saved in identifying logistical problems and requirements and reports/documentation."
 -- "EPLRS provided a factor of three in time reduction reduction in the logistics and maintenance cycles."
 -0- 6/8/93
 /CONTACT: Dan Reeder of Hughes Aircraft, 714-732-4631/

CO: Hughes Aircraft Co.; U.S. Army ST: California IN: ARO SU:

BP-JL -- LA012 -- 6363 06/08/93 08:04 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 8, 1993

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