Tactical Communications

Navy awards $479M deal for joint tactical radios

MIDS JTRS illustration

A ViaSat illustration for airborne portions of MIDS JTRS.

The Navy has awarded ViaSat a contract potentially worth $478.8 million for Link 16 radios that allow joint forces aircraft, ships and ground forces to share tactical information—whether data, images or digital voice—in  near-real time.

The five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, awarded by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, calls for the production, development and sustainment of the software-defined Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS JTRS) terminals.

The MIDS JTRS terminal (PDF), which is upgrading the MIDS-LVT terminal, is a four-channel jam-resistant radio with three other channels for future growth and includes advanced networking waveforms such as the Tactical Targeting Network Technology, a low-latency technology used in ad hoc networks at the tactical edge. It makes use of Link 16, a National Security Agency-certified tactical data exchange network. High-speed jam-resistant, Link 16 allows long-range, line-of-sight communications among U.S. NATO and other approved forces.

MIDS JTRS has been co-developed by ViaSat and Data Link Solutions, a joint venture of Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems, under a series of earlier contracts. The latest award to ViaSat is a sole-source follow-on contract.

The radios will support communications for the Navy, other U.S. military forces and coalition partners. In making the contract award, SPAWAR said 99 percent of the radios would go to the Navy and “possibly” other U.S. services, with the remaining 1 percent being available to as many as two dozen other countries and NATO.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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