Netcentric Radio Bids Finalized

Competing defense industry behemoths Boeing and Lockheed Martin have submitted final bids for the air, maritime/fixed station portion of the military’s Joint Tactical Radio System. Contract awards to one of those two companies should be made sometime in the third or fourth quarter of 2007, Boeing program director Leo Conboy told reporters Friday.

The project, a centerpiece of the Defense Department’s push toward netcentric warfare, is an effort to create a software-programmable radio. Existing radios process radio transmissions (called waveforms) though specifically designed hardware, making interoperability difficult to achieve. JTRS seeks to decouple waveform processing from hardware and make it a function of software, analogous to applications running on a desktop computer.

In submitting its final bid, Boeing decided for now to concentrate on developing capabilities for the Wideband Networking Waveform as the JTRS AMF interoperability component, despite its earlier suggestions that it might integrate the Tactical Targeting Network Technology waveform.

On Friday, Conboy said the requirements for the first increment of JTRS AMF are to use the Wideband Networking Waveform. The waveform will carry Internet Protocol, enabling it to packetize transmissions and so enable interoperability between other, different waveforms, Conboy added.

JTRS is organized into four domains: a ground domain for vehicles, soldiers, sensors and weapons systems; an airborne, maritime, fixed station domain; a network enterprise domain to develop waveforms; and a domain of special radios for special operations forces.

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