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By Julian Nettlefold

17 Feb 13. The Editor visited the ITT Exelis Booth for an update on its latest technologies. ITT Exelis was showcasing its industry-leading technologies at IDEX. Exelis exhibited its affordable capabilities and ready-now, high-technology solutions for military, government and commercial customers around the world. Exelis is a leader in networked communications, night vision technology, sensors, air and ground electronic warfare, composites, air traffic solutions, information and cybersolutions, space and C4ISR.

During a briefing at IDEX Tim White of ITT Exelis told BATTLESPACE that the Company had formed a new Division that incorporates both the Tactical Communications and Night Vision Divisions previously under different umbrellas. This was because both sectors have a similar customer base. The Editor asked about the future of the SINCGARS radio given the current transition to software radios. We were told that production continues at the Fort Wayne facility, albeit in lower numbers after the surge required for Afghanistan.
“SINCGARS continues to be in demand around the world, particularly in the Middle east region, we have received $350m in orders from Iraq since 2007 and another country in the region continues to order systems.”

The US is looking at a Sidehat radio Requirement competed between ITT Exelis, GD and Harris. The biggest opportunity is the upcoming competition for the Mid-tier Networking Vehicle Radio (MNVR) which replaces the now defunct JTRS GMR Program. ITT Exelis is bidding with Northrop Grumman. MNVR encourages an industry solution for a multi-channel vehicular radio which will host JTRS networking waveforms. The MNVR will be a Non-Development Item (NDI) procurement. The MNVR represents a subset of functionality which was demonstrated in the JTRS Ground Mobile Radios (GMR) development program. The MNVR will provide networking capability using the Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) to connect unmanned sensors to decision makers “On-The-Move” (OTM) which will significantly reduce the decision cycle. MNVR will provide a mobile internet-like Mobile Ad-Hoc Networking (MANET) capability; interoperable with current force radios through simultaneous and secure voice, data and video communications. MNVR will support Battle Command, sensor-to-shooter, sustainment and survivability applications in a full range of military operations on vehicular platforms.

The ITT Exelis Spearnet handheld radio, chosen by Spain for its Soldier Modernization programme, continues to attract interest across the world. The Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW), developed by the then ITT Communications Systems, now resides with the US Government but ITT Exelis can sell it around the world.

It is ironic that after the ground-breaking JTRS announcement in 2007 which appeared to predict the demise of the existing radio manufacturers, with the subsequent slump in Stock Prices, heralded a new era of technology led by Boeing. Six years later the original protagonists continue to flourish whilst the new boys on the block are looking at to their laurels. The first sign that the sea change would not happen was the demise of the FCS vehicle Program. These vehicles would have all had a JTRS network-enabled system with existing radio systems being ditched. Lack of a new platform meant that the cost of taking out legacy systems and re-installing JTRS was cost prohibitive. To underline this the predicted SINCGARS Out-Of-Service date for the 500,000 U.S. systems is 2035. In the U.K. the BOWMAN replacement SDR radio Programme, LETACCIS has been kicked off with offering expected in 2015-2016. ITT Exelis will definitely be one of the bidders.

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