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23 Jul 02. Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) showed BATTLESPACE a prototype of the recently awarded U.S. Army Cluster 1 JTRS. This significant win places Rockwell Collins in a leadership position to redefine military communications and provides additional opportunities with international customers.

As a member of the Boeing team, comprised of TRW, Rockwell Collins and BAE SYSTEMS with support from Harris Corporation, Rockwell Collins will assist in providing the U.S. Army with an expanded communication network, enhancing situational awareness and improving overall mission effectiveness of all ground and Army airborne operations.

Cluster 1 is the first procurement of a number of clusters for the JTRS and consists of U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) and U.S. Marine Corps ground radios. It also includes Army rotary wing aircraft radios and the development of a new wideband networking waveform.

The state-of-the-art radios are based on a common Software Communication Architecture (SCA) to ensure interoperability with existing systems and simplify future technology upgrades. Rockwell Collins unique packaging concept functionally partitions modules, enabling flexibility of operation, adaptability for future growth and substantially improved mission effectiveness.

The initial contract award for $110m encompasses the system development and demonstration phase, which is expected to occur over the next three years. The company anticipates approximately $300m in contracts to be exercised for low-rate initial production in the 2005-2006 time period. Full-rate production will commence in 2007 and is anticipated to continue for 12 years.

The winning Boeing team has divided its radio producers into two teams, BAE and Harris and Rockwell Collins. Rockwell Collins and BAE SYSTEMS, with support from Harris Corporation, have responsibility for developing and producing the ground vehicular and airborne systems for the U.S. Army. TRW will support Boeing in the systems engineering effort and is responsible for the integration of ground platforms.

The two teams will share the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract of some 2500-1000 radios over two years. The DoD will then issue a production contract that will be awarded to one of the teams after a competition. It is expected that the DoD will compete this competition on an annual basis so both teams will benefit.

Rockwell Collins and the BAE Team anticipate more than $2bn each in contracts over the life of the program. As prime contractor, The Boeing Company is responsible for the overall systems architecture and design, systems engineering, communications integration and program management. Rockwell Collins provides design, production and support of aviation electronics and communications for government and commercial customers worldwide.

BATTLESPACE asked Ken Peterman Vice President of Marketing for Rockwell why he thought that the Boeing team had won when a number of observers suggested that the Team Futura consisting of Raytheon, ITT, GD and Thales were the incumbent suppliers.

“The modular radio we are showing here is a major advance on exiting systems and demonstrates the Team’s vision of the future requirements of our customer the U.S. Army. The modular construction of the radio permits fast changeover in the filed and a breakdown of one module permits the other modules to continue working. The connection to the FBCB2 computer allows fast tuning for different waveforms and the software allows easy upgrades. Boeing huge capability in systems management and Network Centric Warfare running from satellite communications to ground based comms and its position as prime for Future Combat System gave us the knowledge base and vision for future systems requirements.”

BATTLESPACE spoke to Dick Hitt of the losing Raytheon Team and he confirmed Peterman’s comments. He said, “We took a systems-led approach using our exiting capabilities and t

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