Army awards tactical radio contract

The Army has selected General Dynamics Corp. to design and develop small, lightweight software-programmable radios under the Joint Tactical Radio System contract.

A team led by General Dynamics will modify commercial hardware and software products and develop single- and dual-channel handhelds and small backpack radios, known as 'Cluster Five' radios, according to an Army announcement.

Under the seven-year contract, General Dynamics will receive at least $295 million and could earn more than $1 billion if all options are exercised.

The JTRS program will move different makes of legacy, single-band radio systems to the JTRS architecture.

JTRS will field software-programmable radios that provide multichannel voice, data, imagery and video communications. JTRS radios can be upgraded with new software via a wireless information network.

The radios will replace more than 25 types of military radios currently in use.

'This is the first time in modern telecommunications history that the military will effectively leapfrog ahead of the commercial communications market as it relates to radio capabilities,' said Mark Fried, president and general manager of General Dynamics C4 Systems.

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