Thanks to Utah's Eyring Inc., American soldiers serving in Operation Desert Storm may be less of a target for Iraqi bullets.
Hundreds of portable battlefield communications antennas manufactured by the Provo company have been purchased for use by U.S. military in Saudi Arabia.First sold to an army unit in Washington state four years ago, the Eyring 300 series low-profile antenna is touted as less of a target than conventional battlefield models.
Combat communications soldiers in Saudi Arabia have liked that so much they've written letters of thanks to Eyring.
"It's a miracle piece of equipment - an answer to my frustrations," wrote one soldier from Saudi Arabia. The unidentified soldier also said he was from Bountiful and missed skiing.
"Some have told us it has survived even being run over by a half track," said Reggie Hughes, Division Manager for Eyring's communication system's division in Provo.
A U.S. general for the 101st Airborne Division also wrote saying it was the perfect system for the division's highly mobile style of operating.
"Most battlefield antennas stick up vertically and can be seen from some distance," Hughes said.
But Eyring's ELPA 300 series antenna system lays flat on the ground and can even by buried, yet receives and transmits more effectively than vertical antennas, its makers say.
Fitting into a small canvas carrying bag, the antenna consists of a high-tech flexible metal wire rolled off of small reels. The light-weight antenna can be deployed by a single soldier in less than five minutes and reeled in on the reels in about the same amount of time.
Traditional 15-foot high vertical antenna used by the military takes at least two soldiers to deploy and is highly visible to enemy gunners.
Don Wood, director of marketing, said the Eyring antenna also makes it more difficult for enemy detection systems to pinpoint.
The low-profile antenna also has fewer blind spots - areas where communications fail because of environmental or geographical conditions. EPLA 300s can be linked together for extended range or direct communications signals.
Since the first one was sold to a U.S. Army unit, the ELPA 300 series has been upgraded and its power rating has doubled.
Hughes said the current fiscal year ends March 31 and so far this year Eyring has sold about $2 million worth of the antenna it manufactures at its Provo facility. One antenna system costs about $1,900.