"USAF To Spend $2 Billion on Airborne Communications"


According to a Forecast International Research

Forecast International is projecting sales of airborne communications systems for the U.S. military to reach $2 billion over the next 10 years. 66% of the total will be spent in the next five years. The 2011-2015 time period makes up $687 million in projected sales will undoubtedly be influenced by decisions related to Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) related programs. The report predicts that sales volumes could increase once the JTRS issue is resolved.

The report designates the leading U.S. military airborne communications program as Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification Avionics (ICNIA) system. This program should revolutionize aircraft avionics by combining the communications, navigation, and identification functions into one lightweight, space-saving module. ICNIA accounts for $514 million or 25.32 percent of the market value in the study. Another significant program, currently at research and development stage is the Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT), which will account for $439 million (21.63 percent of the report). Various RF Sensors and Countermeasures Projects account for further $294.34 million (14.5%).

JTRS, has a significant impact on the U.S. military communications market,” said Electronics Analyst, Theresa Hartley, author of the study. When JTRS requirements are clearly defined, vendors are expected to develop new products or modify existing hardware to meet these specifications. “When these JTRS products are marketed, sales should take off.” Hartle commented, Once fully developed, JTRS will replace virtually all radios currently in U.S. military service. Further spending is expected to upgrade existing hardware to comply with JTRS waveforms. An example for such modification is the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS), which is expected to bring in $415.6 million over 10 years. MIDS accounts for approximately 20% of the market dollars in this analysis.

Two companies, Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Collins combined have at least 49 percent of the market. This number would be even higher if Rockwell Collins’ share in Data Link Solutions (DLS) was broken out and credited to it. DLS as a separate entity and MIDS manufacturer enjoys 13.78 percent of the market or approximately $279.7 million in expected sales over 10 years. Raytheon, ViaSat, and BAE Systems complete the list of airborne communications major players.