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19 Jul 04. The U.S. Army awarded a contract to General Dynamics for the System Design and Development phase of the Joint Tactical Radio System Cluster Five radios on July 16.

The Cluster Five radios will satisfy Army and other service requirements for handheld, manpack, and embedded, or small, form-fit, radio applications.

The objective of the JTRS Cluster Five program is to acquire software-programmable and hardware-configurable digital radio equipment that provides flexibility and adaptability to support joint service requirements.

The Cluster Five program is structured to provide technical performance, integration, and timeline support to the Future Combat System, Land Warrior and Joint Service Transformational Communications.

The contract is structured to meet two aspects of Cluster 5 radio requirements separately through an evolutionary developmental approach called spirals. The objective of Spiral 1 is to modify Commercial-Off-The-Shelf/Non-Developmental Items (COTS/NDI) and develop a two-channel manpack radio. The objective of Spiral 2 is to develop the single and dual-channel handhelds, develop small, form-fit variants and further evolve the capabilities of the two-channel manpack, to include porting of additional certified waveforms.

Waveforms certified by the JTRS Joint Program Office as compliant with the JTRS Software Communications Architecture will be ported to the Cluster 5 hardware.

The total contract award for the SDD phase is valued at approximately $295m.

The JTRS radios will provide a family of software-programmable radios designed around an open system software communications architecture, allowing the use of common software waveform applications and ensuring interoperability with current and future force radios. JTRS represents a major turning point for achieving information superiority as envisioned in Joint Vision 2020 – and is a pivotal DoD transformational program.

In 2003, the Defense Acquisition Executive signed the acquisition decision memorandum designating the Army as the Executive Agent for JTRS Cluster 5. Army Acquisition Executive Claude Bolton approved entry of the Army’s JTRS Cluster 5 program into the SDD phase, following a successful Army Systems Acquisition Review Council meeting, April 26.

The Army’s JTRS Cluster 5 product manager is organized under the Office of the Project Manager, Warfighter Information Networks-Tactical, part of the Fort Monmouth-based Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical.

Other partners in the General Dynamics Team include Rockwell Collins and Thales. The other team submitting bids was a Boeing-led team which included ITT and Harris.

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