Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics units win IWN contracts

The three departments that jointly run the Integrated Wireless Network project to build out the next-generation interoperable voice and data radio network for federal agencies today announced that they had chosen General Dynamics C4 Systems of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions of Gaithersburg, Md., as contractors for the acquisition's second phase.

The two contract winners bested Motorola Inc. of Schaumberg, Ill., and Raytheon Co. for the contracts. IWN spending could amount to $3 billion to $30 billion over the life of the contract, which could stretch longer than 10 years.

General Dynamics and Lockheed now will compete to win the final phase of the contract.

The third phase of the procurement could lead to the selection of one of the two companies as the ultimate vendor, though industry analysts have speculated that the government may seek to convince General Dynamics and Lockheed to form a team for the long-term systems integration contract.

"The view around the Beltway of this project is relief that a decision has finally emerged," said one IT industry consultant earlier this week, as reports circulated that General Dynamics and Lockheed had won the work.

The IWN second stage contract award has been delayed by about six to eight months, partly by changes in contract requirements.

IWN is designed to provide secure voice, data and multimedia communications to federal law enforcement agencies. It also is intended to provide interoperable communications with state, local and tribal law enforcement and homeland security agencies.

"By providing near-instant communication availability and system response, highly reliable communications and physical and encryption security features that minimize interception of sensitive communications, IWN will make law enforcement and protective operations more effective, efficient and safe," said Justice CIO Vance Hitch.

The IWN Joint Program Office planned the acquisition in three phases. Justice, home base for the program office, awarded the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts to General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin today after a first phase consisting of an initial down select and today's second-phase contract awards.

"Phase 3 is a design competition," Justice said in a statement. "In the upcoming months, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin will prepare and submit for government review nonproprietary designs and implementation plans for a specific geographic area of the country. At the end of the design competition, the government intends to select one of these firms as the IWN systems integrator," according to the Justice announcement.

DHS' Secure Border Initiative.net project to prevent smuggling and crime in areas between ports of entry is linked with IWN. As a result, a southern border region could become an early candidate for deployment of the advanced radio system.

Several law enforcement agencies within Justice, DHS and Treasury are slated to begin using IWN at first. State, local and other agencies could join the radio network in the future, depending on funding developments.

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