Air Force seeks industry proposals for JTRS

The Air Force has released its request for proposals for the airborne and maritime versions of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a spokeswoman confirmed.

Air Force officials want companies' proposals by late April for the Airborne Maritime-Fixed Station (AMF) radio. The service plans to award in May contracts to two companies or industry teams to design the radio during what the service calls the pre-system development and demonstration phase, an Air Force statement stated.

A formal request was issued for industry Feb. 6, Air Force 2nd Lt. Martha Petersante said.

On Nov. 24, 2003, the Air Force and the Navy agreed to combine their JTRS programs. "Overwhelmingly, industry feedback was that there would be at least an overlap, if not a redundancy, if the two programs were kept separate," said Air Force Lt. Col. Maryann Watson, AMF JTRS program manager, in the statement.

The service planned to issue the requests for proposals for the program Jan. 19, but that was delayed so potential vendors could discuss teaming arrangements because of the merger with the Navy's JTRS project, the statement said.

"This is a larger program now due to the merger, and our priority is to maintain our original promise to the warfighter that was established within the separate programs, while enhancing interoperability overall," Watson said in the statement.

Air Force officials expect to choose a prime contractor by summer 2005 to build and test the AMF radio for system development and demonstration, the service statement states.

Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Integrated Systems and Solutions business unit, located in Gaithersburg, Md., leads an industry team that includes BAE Systems, General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co. and a division of Northrop Grumman Corp., said Thad Madden, a Lockheed Martin spokesman.

Boeing Co. and another division of Northrop Grumman also plan to lead industry teams in pursuit of the AMF contract, according to an industry official.

The military owns more than 750,000 radios of 25 makes and models, many of which cannot communicate with one another. Military officials hope the new systems will decrease those numbers and increase radio functionality with one radio that will operate across the spectrum, from 2 MHz to 2 GHz.

JTRS devices will be defined largely by software, which should make updates easier for new applications and allow radio casings to be used more than once.


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