Next-gen tactical radios garner NSA approval

Long-awaited radios would improve communications for airborne service members

The long-awaited National Security Agency certification for a next-generation military radio communications system was granted on March 9, according to the Joint Program Executive Office for the Joint Tactical Radio System. The certification marks a crucial step for the program, designed to upgrade radio communications for airborne service members.

The Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) is the first of a series of JTRS products to be certified at this level by the NSA.

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“The MIDS program office has been working extremely close with NSA for over six years to bring this leading edge, next-generation technology to the warfighter at the right time,” said Navy Capt. Scott Krambeck, MIDS program manager, in a statement.

The Navy announced on Jan. 11 that JTRS MIDS was approved to begin limited production of a new networking terminal that would help deliver advanced radio capabilities and better situational awareness to deployed forces, and will be used on Air Force and Navy platforms such as the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The system still must go through operational testing before entering the final production phase. The program is on track to enter initial operational test and evaluation by the third quarter of fiscal 2010, JTRS program officials said in January.

The JTRS program evolved from the military’s need to replace legacy radio systems and meet the transforming operational requirements for secure, wireless and integrated communications across forces, networks and platforms, all linked to the Global Information Grid. The new system will also reduce the number of varying types of radios and provide a single chassis, multiple channel radio communications capability, the officials said.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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