One of the most radical changes to military operations in the last ten to fifteen years has been in the area of personal communications on the battlefield. Today soldiers each have a ‘PRR’ or Personal Role Radio, which allows them secure and quick communication between members of a section on the battlefield. Up until very recently troops had been forced to use whistles or hand signals. The PRR consists of a small headset and microphone that the user wears beneath their helmet and a small receiver and transmitter unit that is normally worn high on the chest, by one shoulder. This transmitter/receiver is carried in a small pouch that holds it securely in place whilst still allowing the operator to access the controls:This pouch is made of a lightweight, but very strong Cordua nylon. Down the side of the pouch are a pair of openings that allow manipulation of the radio’s controls:An elasticated strap is fitted to the top, with a press stud, to secure the PRR into the pouch so it does not risk bouncing out when the soldier runs:A pair of adjustable straps with Fastex fasteners are fitted to one side of the pouch:In service these are passed around the back of the pouch, around the shoulder strap of the soldier’s webbing and back to the front to fasten and secure the radio pouch:The label on this pouch is very small and has no more information than an NSN number and the pouch’s use:These radios are part of the troubled ‘Bowman’ system and the MOD ordered 45,000 of them in the late 1990s/ early 2000s. The British Army website gives the official position:
The Personal Role Radio (PRR) is a small transmitter-receiver that allows infantry soldiers to communicate over short distances.
Effective even through thick cover or the walls of buildings, PRR enables section commanders to react quickly and efficiently to rapidly changing situations, including contact with the enemy, greatly increasing the effectiveness of infantry fire teams.
PRR is issued to every member of an eight-strong infantry section.
The system is easy to use through its simple man-machine interface, is unobtrusive and comfortable to wear yet is rugged enough to sustain the harshest environments.
The use of PRR has significantly enhanced combat effectiveness by providing all informed communications to front line soldiers, replacing traditional methods based on shouting and hand signals.