Boeing has delivered production units of a smaller, lighter version of its Tactical Compact Communications Relay (TCCR), which allows a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to function as a tactical, range-extending communications repeater for military handheld radios.
Boeing subsidiary Insitu received four 1-pound TCCRs following tests of the narrowband relay aboard the Insitu ScanEagle UAV. A 1.6-pound TCCR has been providing NATO forces with improved connectivity in Afghanistan.
TCCR allows small groups of forces to transmit and receive encrypted and unencrypted voice and data over long distances and hard-to-reach terrains.
“The upgraded TCCR is a terrific example of Boeing bringing together complementary technologies and skills — in this case, our protected radio communications and unmanned aerial vehicle expertise — from across the company to enhance the capabilities of existing products and better address our customers’ needs,” said Dick Paquette, Payloads and Sensors manager for Boeing Electronic & Mission Systems.
Like the heavier version it replaces, the lighter TCCR system extends the range of line-of-sight military handheld radios from under 10 to more than 150 nautical miles. The new TCCR has been tested on several UAVs, including the Schiebel CAMCOPTER S-100 offered by Boeing, and is small enough to fit into a slot of about 5 by 5 by 1 inch in the ScanEagle’s payload bay.
Boeing later this month plans to demonstrate a TCCR variant that is compatible with commercial radios and could support emergency response or other commercial applications.