The 75th Ranger Regiment is a lethal, agile and flexible force, capable of executing a myriad of complex, joint special operations missions in support of U.S. policy and objectives. Today’s Ranger Regiment is the Army’s premier raiding force. With complexity came the need for smaller, robust command and control, and communications capabilities that could be quickly inserted and exfilled onto and off of the Ranger objectives.

Early-on, Ranger Commanders quickly realized that they needed a more robust command and control communications capability. Early single-channel and tactical satellite (TacSat) systems that came in by air-drop, helicopter air assault, airland operations or over-land were deemed not sufficient. Signal leaders and Ranger NCOs worked tirelessly to develop small mobile platforms that could be used for lighting quick raid operations. These platforms needed to be rugged, easy to operate, dependable, capable of carrying all of their communications equipment and, most importantly, able to fit onto US Air Force fixed wing aircraft; C-130’s, C-141’s, C-5’s, (and later, the C-17), as well as US Air Force Special Operations MH-53 Pavelow Special Operations helicopters and US Army and USMC CH46 and CH47 variant helicopters.


Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and the start of the Global War on Terror, the Rangers’ primary Assault Communications platform was based on the British Land Rover. These platforms were customized and fielded to the Regimental Signal Detachment and each of the three Ranger Battalions to support secure single-channel FM, UHF and VHF as, well as secure TacSat radios. Secure Communications could be accomplished on-the-move and halt as well as remoted into buildings and structures via radio remote systems. The Rangers were instrumental in fielding technologies that allowed their radio systems to be remoted into the “assault cp circle,” or into a building on an objective.

3d Ranger BN Signal Ranger
A 3d Ranger BN Signal Ranger Operates radios
through a remote system during a night joint exercise.

Based on initial early deployments into Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, the Rangers realized they needed an improved communications platform for long-term operations. The Land Rover communications vehicle lacked a robust communications capability and had a tendency to get stuck when off-road.

In the early 2000s, Rangers working with BAE Systems developed a custom High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) communications variant that had greater power capacity, additional radio nets and increased reliability then the Land Rover. The Rangers added secure SINCGARS radios, and multi-band TacSat radios were integrated in communications racks in the cargo area behind the driver and passenger seats. This vehicle also had High Packet Waveform (HPW) capability which enabled them to send data files, imagery and text messages throughout the AOR. The HMMWV, though not as “tactical” for raids, did allow the Rangers to carry more equipment and supplies into combat.

By 2003, Rangers began working on a smaller, more “helicopter tactical” communications capability. Lessons learned in Afghanistan in regards to the weight restrictions of the MH-47 in the higher elevations pushed the Rangers to look for a smaller and lighter communications vehicle. Based on the John Deere Mule, had scaled-down quantities of SINCGARS Radios, Multi-Band radios with low data capability. The premise behind the Guppy was for a simple helicopter drive-off communications platform.