A Utah firm has received an $18 million contract to produce 492 highly specialized military radios for use in such places as the Middle East.

The Salt Lake division of Rockwell-Collins Avionics and Communications of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will produce the radios used by ground-based air controllers who guide tactical aircraft to targets, said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah."This is a critical system for our forces in the Persian Gulf," Hatch said. "The radios will have what is known as a `counter-counter' measure which disrupts enemy attempts to interfere with U.S. forces to jam their communications."

Hatch's office said that Rockwell said the contract could support as many as 40 new jobs, although no new hiring is now proposed.

"In a battle environment with high-density electronic activity, the need for a failsafe system that can find targets and guide attacks on them is obvious," Hatch said.

He noted the radios will have more than 7,000 channels to allow rapid frequency changes. "The system is virtually impossible for the enemy to jam," Hatch said.