Raytheon debuts mini radio for Defense Department

Raytheon Co. has introduced a pocket-sized, software-defined radio that it hopes to integrate into Cluster 5 of the Defense Department's Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), the company said.

The Army manages Cluster 5, which calls for small, form-factor radios that operate in the 2MHz to 2GHz frequency range. According to the Army, the cluster will include the first software-defined JTRS radios, which means they can quickly and cost-effectively support multiple wave forms for communicating over disparate networks.

The $5.2 million contract is scheduled to be awarded in September, according to Reston, Va.-based research firm Input Inc.

Raytheon's new one-pound, seven-ounce MicroLight radio can simultaneously support voice, data and blue force tracking in a single radio, the company said. Blue force tracking is a system for U.S. and allied leaders to track each other's military forces through communications and global positioning systems.

"It's a small but powerful network radio that cuts several pounds from a soldier's equipment load," said Jerry Powlen, vice president of Raytheon Integrated Communication Systems. "With MicroLight, soldiers carry one radio, one set of batteries and one antenna."

Raython officials said MicroLight delivers high bandwidth in a package the size of a personal digital assistant, approximately 6.9 by 3 by 1.7 inches. It can support voice over IP and other networked applications. And because the radio's processing is done by software, it can be reprogrammed to perform additional functions, incorporate emerging technology and add new waveforms.

Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon is part of a team competing for Cluster 5 that includes Boeing Co., Harris Corp. and ITT Industries Inc.

Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. is leading a team that includes BAE Systems North America Inc., Motorola Inc., and Rockwell Collins Inc.

With 2003 revenue of $18.1 billion, Raytheon ranked No. 7 on Washington Technology's 2004 Top 100 list, which measures federal contracting revenue.

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