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AN/PRC-119 are manpack squad tactical radios, a mainstay of the 1990s as the basic U.S. Army infantry squad radio, but is being replaced by more advanced devices. It was the main replacement of the AN/PRC-25 and AN/PRC-77 introduced in the Vietnam War. In turn, it is being replaced by more advanced radios including the AN/PRC-117 and AN/PRC-148, which also combine the functions of some other radio; note that a more advanced radio can have a lower type number (e.g., -117 replacing -119).

It is compatible with the SINCGARS waveform and security system. In addition to SINCGARS, it has user-settable power settings to decrease the probability of hostile SIGINT interception, increase battery life, and reduce the chance of mutual interference when operating close to other units.

Early models could connect to an external TSEC/KY-57 encryption device; newer PRC-119s have built-in encryption.

The AN/PRC-119 also replaces the AN/PRC-113, which is a manpack radio for air-to-ground transmission in UHF and VHF, which lacks the HAVE QUICK II electronic protection and security system. It lacks the satellite capabilities of the AN/PSC-5 tactical radio. It is being replaced by more advanced radios including the AN/PRC-117 and AN/PRC-148