Boeing, Lockheed to design Air Force/Navy radio

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Industry teams led by officials at Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. will design the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) for the Air Force and the Navy.

On Sept. 8, officials at the Air Force's Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., awarded contracts worth more than $50 million each to Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the pre-system development and demonstration phase of the airborne and maritime/fixed station (AMF) JTRS radio program. Air Force and Navy officials will choose the best design in November 2005, according to a Defense Department statement.

"The pre-system development and demonstration phase helps us to define an allocated baseline for radio form factors, ancillary equipment and service integration kits that minimize total cost to government while delivering a powerful new networking capability to the warfighter," said Air Force Col. Maryann Watson, JTRS AMF program manager, in a statement released today.

Air Force and Navy officials agreed last November to combine their JTRS programs to avoid redundancies. Air Force officials originally planned to issue a JTRS request for proposals in January, but that was delayed until February so potential vendors could discuss teaming arrangements because of the merger with the Navy's project.

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. The military wants three versions of JTRS radios: AMF, Army air and ground vehicles, and soldier-wearable.

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