Perkins Technical Services’ E-Kit Gaining Traction
Perkins Technical Services (PTS) has come a long way since 2000, when the Huntsville, AL-based company developed a Power Supply Docking Station (PSDS) which subsequently evolved to be compatible with SINCGARS, L3Harris and Raytheon tactical radio systems. Fast forward to today, when Hank Perkins, Director of Operations, told MON the PSDS now supports “up to 18 or 19 versions of those systems, which reach across all the different waveforms, be it VHF for SINCGARS, UHF, SATCOM or HF.”
More than 9,500 PSDS have been delivered to the US Army and international armed forces – with good reason. While SINCGARS has been delivered to the US Army, it is also a common piece of communications equipment throughout allied nations’ forces in the Middle East and elsewhere. Beyond numbers of applications and units delivered, Perkins said the PSDS are “very easy to use, are lightweight, have a small footprint, and are very reliable.”
While PSDS continues to enhance the capabilities of tactical communication operators in the field, the product did not fully meet the requirements of commanders’ communications teams in tactical operation centres. To close that materiel requirements gap, PTS fielded the Tactical Radio Expeditionary Kit (E-Kit), with customisable components, in order to establish tactical communications in a command post setting. The E-Kit’s three basic components are a PSDS, a Portable Power System operated with six standard military BB-2590/U batteries (supplied by Bren-Tronics) and a combined mast and UHF/VHF antenna (furnished by RolaTube). The PTS E-Kit supports AN/PRC-117F/G, RT-1523 SINCGARS ASIP and AN/PRC-150 and -160 HF radios, as well as RF-5833H Series 150 Watt HF/VHF Power Amplifiers. The E-Kit’s ability to support HF communications is hitting a ‘sweet spot’ of sorts in evolving communications doctrine. While SATCOM remains popular with operators, it is increasingly vulnerable to jamming and other denial tactics, leading to a resurgence in another, available over-the-horizon frequency band – HF.
Perkins further explained the E-Kit “allows a radio operator, with another service member, to set up a forward operating communications post in a matter of 15-20 minutes, or break it down in 15-20 minutes.” The E-Kit also features a minimal logistics ‘tail,’ as it does not require a generator and fuel: this concurrently provides another benefit – allowing silent operations. PTS offers solar blankets to recharge the E-Kit’s batteries. “To completely recharge that power source, from 0 to 100%, using the solar package, takes about five hours,” Perkins remarked. TheE- Kit is reported to weigh about 150lbs.
Beyond US military customers, PTS views the Middle East in particular as an emerging market for additional E-Kit sales, reflecting the number of SINCGARS units used by armed forces in the region.