Radio Competition Reaches Final Stretch

By Valerie Insinna

Companies competing for the Mid-Tier Networking Vehicular Radio have one more test before the Army awards a contract this year.

A decision will likely be announced in May after a demonstration in Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., in early 2013, said Chris Ager, director of networked communication systems for BAE Systems.

“We’re required to have five radios out and operating, and then a couple of spares,” he said. “There will be some integration and training of the military and government people who will be operating them, and then they’ll go out and run the test scenarios.”

The Army is requiring the radios to run two software components of the joint tactical radio system — the wideband networking waveform (WNW) and soldier radio waveform (SRW).

General Dynamics, Raytheon and Harris Corp. are also expected to bid for the contract.

BAE Systems tried out its Phoenix-2C radio last fall at a Network Integration Evaluation 13.1 excursion.  The radios used both the WNW and the SRW waveforms, Ager said.

“We tested the radios communicating with each other as well as with other JTRS radios, and in our view it was very successful. We were able to communicate with our radios at over 20 kilometers,” which is double the requirement. They were also functional at that distance while vehicles were moving at speeds of up to 50 miles an hour, he added.

The MNVR is a replacement program for the ground mobile radio, which was scrapped in 2011 for being too expensive and performing poorly.

Ager said delivery of the radios might begin as early as January 2014. In the request for proposals, companies had to prove they could build at least 900 units per year, he added.

While the SRW waveform is used for handheld and manpack radios used by soldiers, WNW “allows you to connect a lot of different people over longer distances and send that data up to the higher headquarters,” Ager said.  BAE is investing internal research-and-development dollars in order to improve that waveform’s anti-jamming capabilities.

Photo Credit: BAE Systems

Topics: Business Trends, C4ISR, Tactical Communications

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