Boeing, Lockheed vying for radio systems

The Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. recently won contracts totaling $105 million and the chance to battle it out in the presystem development and demonstration phase of the Airborne and Maritime/Fixed Station Joint Tactical Radio System.

Ultimately, the program will select one of the contractors to develop the systems under a contract potentially worth more than $1 billion.

"The overall objective of the Pre-SDD effort is to design for the overall AMF JTRS, and to identify key platform interface requirements that will minimize platform integration, operation and support, and future technology insertion costs," according to the DOD contract announcement.

Boeing walked away with $54.6 million and Lockheed Martin will receive $51.3 million for the 15-month program.

AMF JTRS is jointly managed by the Air Force and Navy and work on the presystem development and demonstration phase will end in December 2005, around the time a single contractor is selected to build the systems.

JTRS will field software-programmable radios that provide multichannel voice, data, imagery and video communications. JTRS radios can be upgraded with new software via a wireless information network.

The radios, which will be integrated on aircraft, vehicles, ships and fixed ground stations worldwide, will replace more than 25 types of military radios in use.

The JTRS software-programmable radio system will replace stovepiped radio frequency (RF) communications of the past and provide flexible, fully interoperable use of the 2-Mhz-to-2-Ghz band with planned growth for above-2-Ghz operations. It will help enable the Internet-based tactical Global Information Grid and enhance net-centric capabilities to all platforms, according to a Lockheed Martin news release.

The contracts were awarded in August by the Air Force Electronics Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

Boeing said its team includes units of Rockwell Collins Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Harris Corp., Melbourne, Fla.; L-3 Communications Inc.; and Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles. It also includes BBN Technologies Inc., Cambridge, Mass.; and MILCOM Systems Corp., Virginia Beach, Va.

About the Authors

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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