By Bob Brewin
Oct. 19, 2006
Anti-U.S. militants in Iraq cannot crack the Army's tactical radio
systems, the Army said, despite reports that Hezbollah forces in Lebanon
were able to hack into similar radios that the Israeli soldiers used
during battles this summer.
According to a report last month in Newsday, the Israel Defense Forces
(IDF) "mostly rely" on the same Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio
System (Sincgars) technology that the U.S. Army uses in Iraq.
News outlets worldwide and blogs have picked up this article, but James
Bowden, Sincgars project manager at the Army Communications-Electronics
Command, said the report was not accurate.
Bowden said the IDF does not use Sincgars, although their radios, like
Sincgars, do use frequency-hopping technology. Frequency-hopping radios
use an algorithm to continually switch transmitted frequencies to
minimize unauthorized interception or jamming of a radio transmission.
But the radios used by the IDF do not use the same algorithm, he said.
The IDF radios also do not use the same communications and transmission
security devices. All three provide robust protection for U.S. Sincgars,
Tadiran of Israel had a contract to produce Sincgars radios for U.S.
forces, according to a company press release. In 1995 Tadiran said it
won a contract from General Dynamics worth $62.5 million to manufacture
15,000 Sincgars radios. The Government Accountability Office said the
Defense Department spent $1.3 billion to acquire Sincgars radios in
between 2005 and 2006.
Bowden said the news reports about Hezbollahs ability to hack into IDF
radios has raised concerns that militants in Iraq could also hack into
Sincgars radios using technology shared by Hezbollah or Iran.
Bowden said soldiers have called his office about their concerns. We
want to make it clear that they do not have a problem, he said. Sincgars
is the robust type of communications they need to protect against these
kinds of threats.
Bowden said service members concerned about Sincgars security should
e-mail him at James.Bowden (at) us.army.mil.
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