Satellite communications becomes available at the infantry level, with the basic backpack AN/PSC-5 "SPITFIRE" Enhanced Manpack UHF Terminal (EMUT). It provides Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA) to UHF satellites between 225.000 to 399.995 MHz. Its initial users were in the Special Operations community, with interoperability among the services. For the Army, it replaced the AN/PSC-3, AN/VSC-7, AN/PSC-7 and AN/LST-5C. It will be replaced, especially in Marine service, by the AN/PRC-117, which extends frequency coverage into VHF.
Access can have built-in encryption, but is narrowband, adequate for tactical voice and data but not imagery. It can transmit as fast as 56, 64, and 76.8 Kbps, which is adequate for the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FCB2) command and control system . The networking parameters facilitate tactical internet and range extension (TI-RE) capabilities supporting situational awareness (FBCB2). While the "P" prefix of its designator indicates man-portability, it can be installed on ships, vehicles, aircraft and in fixed installations.
The AN/PSC-5C SHADOWFIRE adds more than satellite and more than UHF, being able to communicate in the VHF-UHF bands (30 – 400 MHz) using the SINCGARS and HAVE QUICK II waveforms for terrestrial line of sight. It can serve as a range extension relay for these services.
As is common with portable military electronics, battery life and weight is always a major consideration.