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UK Combat Net Radio

Clansman is the name of an integrated radio system, sometimes called a Combat Net Radio system (CNR), used by the British Armed Forces between 1976 and 2010. It was developed by the Signals Research and Development Establishment (SRDE) in Christchurch (Dorset, UK) in the late 1960s, as the replacement for the ageing Larkspur radio system. Clansman equipment was not only much lighter than its predecessor, it also proved to be more flexible and more reliable [1].

The basic requirements for the Clansman range were defined in 1965 in a so-called General Staff Requirement (GSR). In the late 1960s, the British military research establishment SRDE [2] started the development based on this specification.

The equipment itself was manufactured by Racal, MEL (Philips) and Plessey. Apart from improved performance, Clansman introduced new modes of operation to the British Armed Forces, such as SSB (Single Side Band) and NBFM (Narrow Band Frequency Modulation). The image on the right shows the UK/PRC-319 manpack HF radio set.
Close-up of the two control units: the EMU (left) and the frequency control unit (right)

Clansman was first introduced in the British Army in the late 1970s and was actively used in most recent UK military operations, such as the Falkland War in 1982 and the First Gulf War in 1991. From the mid-2000s onwards, Clansman was being replaced by the new digital Bowman communication system and the equipment became available to collectors via the surplus market. By 2010, Clansman was phased-out completely. Some parts (crypto) are still secret today (2012).

Clansman equipment on this website
PRC-319 (BA-1302)
BA-1304 (EMU)
SEC-13 (voice crypto)
SEC-15 (voice & data crypto)
Racel MA-4450, MEROD (TDED) message entry device
Racal secure voice crypto unit (Cougar)
Racal PRM-4515 Cougar handheld radio
About the SRDE
British military research establishment

The SRDE was established shortly after the end of WWII in 1948 [2]. It was based in Christchurch (Dorset, UK) until it was merged with the Royal Radar Establishment (RRE) in Malvern (Worchester, UK) in 1980. The new operation was called the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) [3] which eventually was merged with other defence research establishments [4] into the Defence Research Agency (DRA) in 1991.

After another series of restructuring [5], the DRA became part of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 1995, and was eventuall split in 2001 into two separate organisations: QinetiQ, a commercial company, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) [6]. In 2011, QinetiQ was the 6th largest UK defence contractor and number 52 in the world [7].

HF Radio
  • UK/PRC-316
  • UK/PRC-319
  • UK/PRC-320
  • UK/PRC-321
  • UK/PRC-322
VHF Radio
  • UK/PRC-349
  • UK/PRC-351
  • UK/PRC-352
  • UK/PRC-353
UHF Radio
  • UK/PRC-344
  1. Wikipedia, Clansman
    Retrieved June 2011.

  2. Wikipedia, Signals Research and Development Establishment (SRDE)
    Retrieved June 2011.

  3. Wikipedia, Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE)
    Retrieved October 2012.

  4. Wikipedia, Defence Research Agency (DRA)
    Retrieved October 2012.

  5. Wikipedia, Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA)
    Retrieved October 2012.

  6. Wikipedia, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
    Retrieved October 2012.

  7. Wikipedia, QinetiQ
    Retrieved October 2012.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Last changed: Friday, 04 September 2015 - 15:23 CET.
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