Army awards radio deal to Boeing

The Army Communications-Electronics Command this week awarded Boeing Co.'s Space & Communications group a more than $856 million contract for development, demonstration and initial production of the Joint Tactical Radio Systems.

JTRS, which is essentially a computer with a radio front end, is a software-programmable, multiband, multiuse radio that will permit communications across Defense Department services. Such communication has been difficult or impossible to accomplish in the past because of radio frequency problems.

Cluster 1 is the first JTRS production procurement and consists of Army, Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) and Marine Corps ground radios, as well as Army rotary wing aircraft radios.

Allen Ashby, vice president and general manager of Boeing's battle management/command, control and communications and strategic systems business unit in Anaheim, Calif., where JTRS program activities will be managed, said that as prime, the company is responsible for:

* Design and integration of the JTRS architecture.

* Integration of legacy and new waveforms.

* Development of a new wideband networking waveform.

* Qualification of two hardware production sources for up to 10,000 vehicular and airborne systems through low-rate initial production, with future production quantities expected to exceed 100,000 units.

The system development and demonstration phase should last about 44 months, with early operational assessment testing expected during the summer of 2004, and low-rate initial production expected to begin in 2005, according to Boeing.

The Boeing team includes TRW Inc.'s Tactical Systems Division, Rockwell Collins Inc.'s Government Systems Division and BAE Systems' Communications, Navigation and Identification Division, which is partnered with Harris Corp.'s RF Communications Division.

If all options are exercised, the contract, announced June 24, is worth more than $2 billion. Work is scheduled for completion by Jan. 31, 2008, according to the Army.

The JTRS contract is Boeing's second major Army win this year. In March, Boeing and Science Applications International Corp. were awarded a $154 million contract as the lead systems integrator team for the service's Future Combat Systems.

The Army envisions FCS as an integrated battlespace, where networked information and communications systems provide a competitive edge to soldiers in the field and commanders in the control room.

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