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By Adam Baddeley, Deputy Editor BATTLESPACE

With the Request For Proposals for the Airborne Maritime Fixed (AMF) Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) cluster issued to industry on February 5th, the programme has begun in earnest. Boeing and Lockheed Martin confirmed they were establishing teams to compete for the AMF programme – formed by the merger of the former JTRS Clusters 3 and 4 late last year. The AMF programme will see JTRS complaint radios installed in future systems ranging from the F-35 and F-22 to the air and the Littoral Combat Ship on the surface as well as upgrading existing communications on existing air, surface and sub-surface platforms.


Lieutenant Colonel Maryann Watson, Program Manager AMF JTRS outlined the programmatic details for the Cluster. The AMF JTRS program has a two-phase development strategy including Pre-System Development and Demonstration (Pre-SDD) and SDD phases. The Pre-SDD phase, lasting approximately 15 months, will be awarded to at least two Prime System Contractor (PSC) teams. Each PSC team will then deliver a preliminary design and associated documentation for a modular/scalable JTRS design – including JTR form factors, associated ancillary equipment, and Service Integration Kits (SIKs). The SIK designs will be needed only for Maritime/Fixed Station platforms because the aircraft program offices will handle aircraft integration. The Pre-SDD Request For Proposal requires a design that maximises the use of commercial-based products and standards to generate high component commonality across form factors, to minimize the total cost to the government (looking beyond just radio cost, to include platform integration and sustainment cost as well). The Pre-SDD scope also includes trade studies and risk reduction analyses to evaluate the impact of pending requirements and potential future system upgrades.

The Request for Proposal for the AMF JTRS Pre-SDD phase was formally released to industry on 5th February with proposals due to be submitted on 22nd March. The source selection is expected to take approximately 80-90 days. The SDD phase will be awarded to a single PSC in late Summer 2005, at the completion of the Pre-SDD phase. The selected SDD prime contractor will be responsible for qualifying a minimum of two sources for each JTR form factor and associated ancillary equipment. This is a similar approach to that adopted for Clusters 1 and 5. The SDD phase will consist of critical design, prototype and engineering development model (EDM) fabrication, and initial testing and certification, as well as options for low rate initial production.

Prior to the merger Cluster 3 and 4 had requirements for 7467 and 9540 radios respectively. It is understood that this will remain broadly the same.

The merger of Clusters 3 and 4 late last year was possible because both programmes were at nearly the same point in the acquisition cycle and neither had awarded a design contract. Col. Watson commented “Overall we anticipate the creation of the AMF JTRS program will have minimal impact on the long-term schedules to meet airborne and maritime/fixed station platforms’ needs for next generation communications capabilities.”

Air Force briefings have identified several form factors (FF), which have staggered fielding schedules. The MIDS (Multi-Function Information Distribution System) FF Full Rate Production (FRP) deliveries are due to begin in 1Q FY07. A Low Rate Initial Production award for the ARC-210 and C2 FFs are due in 1QFY07 and LRIP deliveries in 3QFY08. A FRP award for both is planned for the 2QFY10 with delivery beginning in 1QFY11. Maritime and Fixed radio are scheduled for an LRIP award in 3QFY07 with deliveries beginning in 1QFY09 and FRP deliveries beginning in 1QFY10.

The teams

Lockheed Martin’s team will comprise input from across the company and also includes BAE Systems, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northr

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