What is tactical radio interoperability?

August 9, 2023

Using multiple communications methods at the tactical edge is critical to mission success, but it also leads to interoperability challenges. As a result, a warfighter or operator in the field might not be able to connect to someone in a command post, on a vehicle, or in headquarters, unless they have matching equipment. And this matching equipment may not be mobile — or feasible.

Tactical radios from different vendors often operate on different frequencies and waveforms, making them unable to talk to each other. The most logical answer to this problem is to carry multiple radios. But this places a great deal of encumbrance on the end user — forcing them to become competent with multiple pieces of equipment and then lug it all around.

This problem can be partially mitigated by a RoIP gateway. While many of these gateway devices can be cheap, they are often very limited in what they can do. For example, most basic radio gateways simply bridge different types of radios together, but they fail to integrate with the rest of the C2 network. A more advanced radio gateway is needed to ensure radio interoperability.

Critical comms: Why RoIP interoperability is essential for mission success

In order to stay ahead of adversaries, new technology is constantly being introduced to the battlefield. And yet at the tactical level, all of this innovation and disruption can pose great challenges. Every time a new piece of communications gear is deployed, interoperability suffers. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of setting up new equipment — especially in an austere environment — understands the nightmare of trying to get different pieces of hardware and software to talk to each other.

The solution to these interoperability challenges is a lightweight, ruggedized, smart RoIP gateway that bridges disparate endpoints/radios and provides full access to the rest of the C2 network. By utilizing a smart RoIP gateway, less gear is required, resulting in increased mobility, lower costs, and improved situational awareness.

The most full-featured smart RoIP gateway on the market is the REDCOM Sigma XRI platform. The XRI product family consists of small form factor RoIP/C2 platforms designed for all echelons of the tactical environment. Sigma XRI is powered by REDCOM’s flagship C2 software, REDCOM Sigma, which delivers voice, video, chat, and Radio over IP (RoIP) in a single ruggedized, low-SWaP box. This combination of Sigma and XRI ensures interoperability across all echelons. The XRI is available in multiple form factors: a stand-alone box and as a module for Klas Voyager and PacStar systems.

Sigma XRI: Your RoIP gateway solution

Primary, Alternative, Contingency, Emergency (PACE) plans are crucial to mission success. The REDCOM Sigma XRI is the key to seamlessly implementing a PACE plan by delivering maximum interoperability between VoIP devices, radios, SATCOM, and the C2 network.

With the XRI, warfighters no longer need to carry multiple radios. Their one radio of choice can communicate with any other RoIP endpoint connected to the XRI and can reach all the way back to other units — or even higher HQ. Less weight leads to less fatigue on the warfighter. A 152 for local comms extended via an XRI is a lot lighter than a 152 (VHF), 117G (MUOS), 160 (HF) being assigned to each Company Radio Operator, plus SOP battle rattle. Not only will the XRI reduce costs and increase interoperability but with REDCOM Sigma, interoperability across other forms of C2 comms, such as video and chat, will be extended as well.

By being fully interoperable, the XRI is your solution to a PACE plan, as multiple radio types can be taken into the field and still communicate. This reduces the unit’s footprint and increases mobility by reducing the number of radios required on a mission.

Sigma XRI: the cornerstone of a successful PACE plan

Sigma XRI can be the critical unifying building block for a PACE plan. With your donor radios attached to the XRI-400 you bring interoperability and redundancy to your communications network. If you lose access to your primary network (in this example, SATCOM), you can seamlessly migrate to the Alternative and sustain communications across the battlefield. If your unit only brings HF radios, you do not have to worry about reaching the platoon element communicating on VHF. The XRI removes the need for the middleman to relay these nets, saving time and lives.

For more information on how REDCOM offers frictionless RoIP though our C2 comms systems reach out to