Boeing to lead JTRS team

Two months before the next round is scheduled to be awarded for the Joint Tactical Radio Systems, Boeing Co. officials today announced they have formed a team of subcontractors to compete for the Airborne and Maritime/Fixed Station JTRS cluster.

When the Navy and the Air Force in November announced they were combining much of their JTRS efforts, vendors began salivating at the contracting possibilities. The Defense Department is in the process of selecting two companies to receive $54 million pre-System Development and Demonstration contracts for its Airborne and Maritime/Fixed Station Joint Tactical Radio System (AMF JTRS) program. DOD will award the 15-month contracts in June.

Boeing is teaming with Rockwell Collins Inc.'s Government Systems division in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Harris Corp.'s RF Communications and Government Communications Systems divisions in Rochester, N.Y., and Melbourne, Fla., for the radio portion of the contract; L-3 Communications' East, West and Integrated Systems divisions in Camden, N.J., Salt Lake City, Utah, and Greenville, Texas, and MILCOM Systems Corp. in Virginia Beach, Va. for the Navy portion; Northrop Grumman Mission Systems sector in Reston, Va. for network management and BBN Technologies in Cambridge, Mass., for networking expertise.

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

Boeing and Lockheed Martin officials believe they're competing against a third team. This third competitor hasn't publicly revealed itself, but Alex Lopez, director of the Network Communication Systems JTRS Program for Boeing, speculated that it could be Northrop Grumman, given the air and maritime focus of the contract.

Lopez said he didn't know if the System Development and Demonstration, a follow-on to the June contracts, would depend on which two companies receive the pre-SDD contract, but added it would be difficult to get the follow-on contract if a company is eliminated from the early bids.

Boeing, he added, may have an advantage over the other bidders, in that the company is the main contractor on the JTRS cluster 1 program, which focused on developing the software-programmable radios for the Army's vehicles. The AMF team is slightly different from the cluster 1 team, given the newer contract's focus on the air and the sea.

On Nov. 24, 2003, the Air Force and the Navy agreed to combine their JTRS programs to avoid redundancies. The Air Force originally planned to issue a JTRS requests for proposals on Jan. 19, but that was delayed so potential vendors could discuss teaming arrangements because of the merger with the Navy's project.

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