Air Force awards contract for cryptographic radio devices

In the first technology upgrade of the military’s portable radio devices in more than two decades, Raytheon Co. will design new lighter, power-efficient transmitter devices with more secure encryption technology.

The Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $31.1 million contract to design new lighter, power-efficient transmitter devices, the first technology upgrade to the shoebox-shaped devices in more than two decades, Raytheon officials said Nov. 7. 

The portable devices are used in a variety of airborne, land and maritime combat situations to transmit voice and data securely.

Under a multiyear agreement the time period of which was not announced, Raytheon will design and test the new cryptographic units before replacing the current stand-alone cryptographic units with new products that use data-scrambling algorithms to encrypt information on one end and then decrypt it on the other, the announcement said.

Known as VACM, for VINSON/ANDVT Crypto Modernization, the highly competitive program sets new standards for encryption performance and ease of use. Raytheon's new cryptographic module is available to select markets at a significantly lower cost than current competitive solutions, the announcement added.

The VACM contract is one of the Air Force Cryptologic Systems Division's largest programs.