Part of the JTRS AMF program is restructured

Program to focus on airborne component

An important part of the Defense Department’s advanced digital radio program is being restructured and trimmed to keep costs in check.

The Airborne, Maritime and Fixed segment of the Joint Tactical Radio System (AMF JTRS) program is being restructured with input from the Army, said Jim Quinn, vice president of Lockheed Martin C4ISR Systems. Speaking Oct. 11 at the AUSA conference and exhibition, Quinn said work on the maritime and fixed parts of the program has been halted.

Under the restructuring, the program is focusing on the airborne segment and going ahead with the development of the JTRS Small Airborne AN/ZRC-2 radio. The radio is scheduled to be evaluated operationally at the Army’s upcoming Network Integration Evaluation exercise in March 2012, he said.

The stop-work/pause order came from the JTRS Joint Program Office (JPO) in August. The primary driver for the restructuring is cost and affordability, said Quinn. The AMF JTRS program now has a cost cap target to finish the system development phase and complete the program for around $1 billion.

The radio uses an Internet Protocol based network infrastructure that allows it to interoperate with military data and communications networks. All the JTRS radios are designed to replace multiple military radios with a single device capable of handling multiple waveforms and frequencies.

Meanwhile, the program highlights for the airborne radio in 2011 include:

In January the program held a successful integrated hardware and software demonstration and flight test aboard an Apache attack helicopter. The Apache tested the JTRS Wideband Networking Waveform, which was loaded on the AMF radio. The results of the test showed that the program was on its way to a Milestone C production decision, Quinn said.

In May, the program installed a pre-engineering development model radio in a C-130J Hercules transport aircraft. This was followed in August with the delivery of improved data modem systems for delivery into C-130J and C-5 Galaxy aircraft. In October and November the radio will undergo flight tests aboard a U2 reconnaissance aircraft. These tests will focus on using the radio as a high altitude airborne radio relay, he said.

Also, the radio is scheduled to achieve accreditation for Type 1 encryption in the first quarter of 2013. Lockheed Martin is in discussions with the JPO to work out the restructuring plan, which Quinn expects to be formalized by the end of this year.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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