The AN/PSC-3 is a battery operated, highly portable, manpack TACSAT terminal. It employs an RT-1402 receiver/transmitter (R/T) unit that provides two-way communications in the frequency range of 225 MHz to 400 MHz. The R/T functions in both satellite mode and LOS mode of operation. It can be configured to provide data or secure voice.
In the data mode, it uses the digital message device group (DMDG) OA-8990 as the input/output (I/O) device. It provides data rates of 300 bps or 1,200 bps. In the secure voice mode, the AN/PSC-3 uses either the advanced narrowband digital voice terminal (ANDVT) or a COMSEC interface device such as the VINSON KY-57.
In addition to voice and data, the AN/PSC-3 can interface with facsimile, teletype, net radio interface (NRI), and FM retransmission media.
Special Forces units use the AN/PSC-3s for group/detachment headquarters, forward operating bases, and operational teams spread over extended distances. Command and control between major headquarters is primarily secure voice. All users at the Special Forces team level operate in a data burst mode using the OA-8990 data burst device.The Ranger regiment/battalions command nets provide command and control from regimental headquarters through company headquarters. They use secure voice and data burst in their operations. The airborne/air assault divisions use the AN/PSC-3s primarily to provide a long-haul command and control link between major headquarters during initial deployment. Once on the ground, those headquarters still requiring a communications link not available by LOS means or by multichannel satellite link will continue to operate via the AN/PSC-3 network. The primary mode is secure voice, though secure teletype (AN/UGC-74) is also used. Selected infantry divisions (light and mechanized) use the AN/PSC-3s to provide a long-haul command and control link between major headquarters during initial deployment of a contingency operation. The primary mode is secure voice, though secure teletype (AN/UGC-74) is also used.