Tactical radio architecture ready to roll

The Defense Department is edging closer to delivering new DOD-wide digital radio systems.

Next month, the JTRS Joint Program Office will release Version 2.2 of the Joint Tactical Radio System's software communications architecture.

The office then will begin source selection in another 30 to 45 days and award a development contract within a few months, said Air Force Col. Steven MacLaird, JTRS program director.

"We think JTRS will be as powerful in the 21st century as the Global Positioning System was in the 1980s," MacLaird said. "We're providing the architecture for the services to go from the Global Information Grid to space."

MacLaird spoke last week at the third annual Network-Centric Warfare conference in Washington, sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement.

MacLaird's team is responsible for migrating legacy, single-band radio systems to the JTRS architecture. The JTRS family of software-programmable radios will provide multichannel voice, data, imagery and video communications. The radios will replace more than 25 types of legacy radios now in use across the services.

Under the $5.7 billion JTRS architecture, service members on the battlefield, in combat vehicles and at command posts are supposed to be able to communicate across different channels and legacy comm applications.

Dawn S. Onley writes for Government Computer News magazine.

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